Yesterday, within 64 seconds of the first redemption going through, all 100 of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 graphics cards available in the PLEX for Graphics Cards program were sold out.
The PLEX for Graphics Cards program allowed players to exchange 20 PLEX units for an EVGA GeForce GTX 560 video card, and have it shipped to their home. Full details can be read in this blog.
As first described during the CCP Presents Keynote at EVE Fanfest 2012, the joint program with Nvidia and CCP shattered all expectations in terms of player demand.
While certainly a unique and an amazing offer for EVE Online players, allowing them to trade virtual goods for real world hardware (and undoubtedly making the already beautiful EVE Online look even better on their computer screens in the process), this isn't the first "real world" use of PLEX.
EVE players have generously donated tens of thousands of USD (via reverse-redeeming PLEX with the help of CCP) to numerous charities in multiple player-driven "PLEX for Good" campaigns which have gone towards flood relief in Pakistan, earthquake relief in Haiti and tsunami relief in Japan. PLEX was also accepted as a form of payment for EVE Fanfest passes, as well as access to the HD video stream of the event itself (an SD stream was made available for free and videos of the event can be found here).
PLEX (or Pilot's License Extension), originally purchased from CCP via account management, is an in-game item in EVE Online that can be bought and sold on any of 66 regional markets or traded in the contracts system for in-game currency (ISK). It represents one month of game time and can be applied to any account that has it in a character's inventory.
In essence, PLEX is a mechanism that allows players with enough in-game wealth to play "for free" by trading with another player who has bought PLEX from CCP, giving the original PLEX purchaser a good influx of in-game currency in the transaction, i.e. "time-rich" players working with "cash-rich" players for mutual benefit and profit, expanding EVE Online's subscription model to better serve it's players. It has also done wonders to combat Real Money Trading within EVE Online as a safe, effective method for players to turn real life currency into virtual currency.
NVidia Blog: Link
More about PLEX: Link
EVE Online has a free 14-day trial, available at eveonline.com