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Retailers break Doom Eternal street date over COVID-19 fears

GameStop and other retailers are selling Bethesda's game early to avoid overcrowding in-store

Original Story, March 19, 2020: GameStop will sell Doom Eternal one day early due to fears over transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The US retailer said the decision was taken based on social distancing guidelines from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), to ensure the safety of its customers.

Doom Eternal was due to launch tomorrow, on March 20, but GameStop will sell the game today in an effort to avoid having too many customers in stores.

While fans of id Software's iconic franchise will get to play Doom Eternal a day early, GameStop's decision was also influenced by Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Nintendo's game is also due to launch on March 20, making tomorrow the single biggest day for game launches of 2020 so far. Animal Crossing will be released as planned, GameStop said, "to further help separate the crowds."

The Dutch retailer Game Mania has taken similar steps, making both Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing: New Horizons available to customers who pre-ordered in-store from yesterday.

There have also been unconfirmed reports of the UK retailer GAME also selling Doom Eternal ahead of its official launch. An employee of the company told Video Games Chronicle that Bethesda had given its consent for the street date to be broken.

GamesIndustry.biz has connected both GAME and Bethesda for comment, but neither had replied at the time of publication.

Update, March 20, 2020: GAME has confirmed it also broke the street date on Doom Eternal.

In a statement, the retailer said: "Due to the unprecedented circumstances surrounding COVID 19, we took steps to allow our customers to purchase Doom Eternal prior to its official launch date.

"This is not our usual code of practice and we take gaming release schedules very seriously, but we did not want our customers to miss out."

GamesIndustry.biz has again contacted Bethesda for comment.

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