Social distancing, while not the only preventive measure advised, goes a long way in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That guideline is hard to observe, however, when crowds rush and squeeze in line for what may be an in-demand product. That’s why GameStop is announcing that two games launching on March 20 won’t be launching at the same time in the hopes that the crowds will be split more or less in half during in two days.
It will be an interesting situation to observe at least for those who will now be curious to see which of the two games is actually in higher demand. DOOM Eternal, which takes place after the events of 2016’s DOOM sequel, will be available from GameStop stores on March 19. Animal Crossing: New Horizons, on the other hand, will launch on its original March 20 date.
It isn’t a direct confirmation but it does imply that GameStop has pretty much canceled the midnight launch events for the two games. The game distributor is both popular and notorious for these midnight gatherings that now risk not only buyers’ health but even those of GameStop’s own employees.
For better or for worse, it also at least confirms that GameStop plans to remain open all throughout the week and beyond as it had previously announced. There are, naturally, calls for the store to put its workers’ and customers’ welfare above profit margins. Gamers who haven’t switched to digital or pre-ordered physical copies, however, might be thankful that it didn’t. At their own risk, naturally.
A bit ironically, these gamers might be lining up to stock up on games exactly because of extended periods of quarantines and shelter-in-place orders throughout the country. Game distributors, especially digital ones like Steam and GOG, are seeing an opportunity to present their titles, at discounts or for free, as one measure to keep people from getting too bored staying safe at home.