The reason is everyone was holding out for R9 series, which was largely a disappointment.
R9-280X = rebrand. Other than ASUS R9-280X DirectCU with the 10mm heatpipe, most are inferior to HD7970 (including Gigabyte which has the same phases but cheapened with Low RDS(on) mosfets , Sapphire's lackluster rebranding of HD7000 series, and MSI's Twin Frozr IV which does not cool VRM for some reason?). Meanwhile, the R9-280X TOXIC is dangerously close to R9 290 pricing.
If they launched R9-270X with 4GB VRAM it would have a ~$20 value-add. As it is now the only one that is an actual improvement is the MSI HAWK R9 270X, since it has an excellent cooler but elpida memory (unlike the MSI R9-280X which doesn't cool VRM).
The R9 270 is ok (could be $160 though instead of $180 but that will drop over time), but the Elpida memory across the board partners, and voltage locking (due to cheap Onsemi voltage controller like Nvidia) is really disappointing. It has TDP going for it however. It feels like failed Firepro W7000s with 2GB VRAM & cheaper PCBs swapped in are used for Sapphire's R9 270s. Looks like Gigabyte added a stiffener for their Windforce 2X also but pretty much across the board it's ONE heatpipe
R7 260X literally only has TrueAudio going for it , at $140 it's overpriced. Other than that I don't see why anyone would buy it over a HD7790 or GTX 650 Ti Boost.
Even if they launched R9 280 rebrand HD7950, I don't see the situation changing unless board partners make better coolers or offer value-adds.
The biggest improvement as far as AMD partners is likely XFX , but I guess people were so disappointed from HD7000 series that there's not many reviews for the midrange (R9 280X: Anandtech
, R9 270X mini review http://us.hardware.info/productinfo/201469/xfx-radeon-r9-270x-black-double-edition-2gb#tab:testresults
We shall see how AMD fares once R9 290 aftermarket cooled cards come out.
Q4 2013 = R9 290 series aftermarket likely
Q1 2014 = Kaveri tentative launch , Firepro D300/500/700 for Mac Pro (launch Dec)?
@BigTree: Intel & Nvidia were mentioned so I don't know if those consoles even count?Edited by AlphaC - 11/20/13 at 12:44pm