Both Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal are set to launch this Friday, March 20, but Dutch retailer Game Mania is planning to sell copies of the games early before it shuts down due to ongoing containment efforts against the spread of Coronavirus.
Game Mania's decisions follows new online murmurings that suggest US retailer GameStop is in talks with its developer, Nintendo, to release the upcoming simulator Switch exclusive early, due to ongoing concerns around the continued spread of the Coronavirus disease.
The report comes from Reddit, where one user cites a phone conversation with a local GameStop store manager as their source, claiming that "with mounting pressure from governments to close non-essential businesses, GameStop is trying to push out Animal Crossing as early as possible so that people don’t end up getting it weeks after release because all the stores close."
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However, upon reaching out to them ourselves, a GameStop employee in New York City told GamesRadar that "there's no talk of closing the store for now or giving [Animal Crossing: New Horizon] out early", despite cancelling the midnight launch of game in multiple states across the US.
As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the globe, governments are beginning to ramp up efforts to contain and combat the pandemic, including self-imposed quarantines, business closures, and social distancing measures.
This would, naturally, affect GameStop's in-store business, so - if this report can be trusted - it's no wonder the company is trying to push one of 2020's biggest potential releases out before the situation escalates in the United States. It's difficult to verify this rumour at present, however, but we'll let you know if and when we hear anything official from GameStop or Nintendo itself as the week progresses.
See what else is on Nintendo's horizon with our guide to upcoming Switch games