The US last night survived the launch of the Xbox 360. A happy few were able to buy a premium system for $400, the unlucky got stuck with a core system that lacks a hard drive and therefore won't be able to play any of the first generation Xbox games (but you can always upgrade)
Soon after the launch the laws of supply and demand kicked in. The record: one system sold on Ebay for $10,400.
If you hope to copy this healthy 2500 per cent profit margin when the Xbox launches in Europe next week or Asia the week thereafter, pay attention. Below are some observations based on looking at that prices that people paid for new Xbox systems on Ebay.
- Promise the fastest shipping possible: the $10,400 auction promised to ship the unit overnight on Tuesday, allowing the buyer to touch it on Wednesday. Others told prospective buyers to wait up to a week.
- Carefully time when your auction ends. You aren't dealing with your price conscious regular Ebay crowd here. These are impulse buyers. You want to catch them when they are the most desperate:
- Buyers on average paid the most in auctions that had ended before noon. Most systems that sold for around $3,000 actually went under the hammer by 11 am in New York (8 am in San Francisco).
- By 5 pm San Francisco time the average price had dropped to about $800.
- Later in the evening the seemed to pick up again: this one sold for $1325 at 6:30 pm (SF time)
- Learn to spell! Few people will find your Xobx.
- People don't care much about the core systems: this premium system sold for $1025. Only 8 minutes earlier a Core version sold for only $649
- Do you know for sure that you'll get an Xbox? SELL IT! If you're really desperate to own one, sell yours in the morning and buy one in the afternoon after prices have levelled off.
- If you're in for a gamble, follow the above rule even if an Xbox hasn't been allocated to you.
- Don't get greedy: this unit never sold, probably because of a $2,000 reserve price. Ebayers like to bid on items that others already bid for. And low prices get you your first bidders.
- All these rules would also apply if you're looking to buy, in which case I'd like to urge you to take a deep breath and spend a few bucks on a new game for your existing Xbox that will get you through the Holidays. You'll save a truckload of money by waiting. Just donate the savings to charity to further enhance the Holiday spirit.
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