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Nvidia could be using a little reverse psychology maybe, or something like that. They know they're charging too much, we know they're charging too much, and what consumers are most afraid of is prices increasing even more so. If Nvidia sets prices unreasonably high before launch, in which case they're very likely to leak, if they didn't end up leaking themselves, then after gamers get all wound up over how costly these new cards will be, Nvidia can then price them $50-$100 lower and it'll be seen as a relief and will make Nvidia seem like they're not quite so bad as they came to their senses, or so it will seem.
This would also let Nvidia know where people stand as to what price ranges they feel are suitable right now for this tier of card, as some of you have already pointed out. They would get to charge the maximum amount they could get away with, while also seeming not so bad.