Best Buy lists February 1 release for Diablo III; posts signs and a countdown clock

Diablo III's release might have slipped from 2011 to 2012, but reports are coming in that the wait might almost be over. Best Buy, one of the largest electronics retailers around, has pegged the game with a February 1 release date according to a tip from Joystiq.

Typically, it's not that important when a retailer randomly assigns a game a release date without the publisher confirming anything (it's usually done just to grab pre-orders), but this Best Buy leak is special - beyond changing the date in its systems, it also put up signage promoting a midnight release, and sporting a countdown clock that ends on February 1.

Above: The sign has a date printed right on it and everything - it sure looks legit to us

The image comes from a Rochester, Minnesota store, where the end-cap had just been put up. Another tipster points out that major UK retailer Gameplay has a February 3 date listed - fitting right in with the typical 2-3 day delay for major titles. It's possible that this is all a big, giant misunderstanding, but going through the effort of printing up advertisements, getting countdown clocks made, and sending them out to stores has us optimistic that we might be grinding through Blizzard's RPG within the next month.

The only thing that keeps us from getting too excited is the date: February isn't all that far away, and publishers usually like to give more than a few week's notice before dropping a game as big as Diablo III. If it is, indeed, true, then an official announcement can't be too far off, so stay tuned for updates as we learn them.