News Article

UK Retailers Break Release Date for Pokémon X & Y

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

It's not just early deliveries any more

Earlier this week we bemoaned the fact that Nintendo's global release plans for Pokémon X & Y had been undermined; what was a concerted effort to release the new generation of the franchise to everyone at once had been let down by some of the gaming press, public and retailers. It had been an unprecedented move by Nintendo for the series and, based on what's happened, one it may not bust a gut to repeat in future.

We've have people breaking embargoes and leaking surprises, and we've also had retailers posting pre-orders early, all-but guaranteeing that plenty of gamers will be playing these titles earlier than some others patiently waiting until launch day. It seems that the impatience has spread to bricks-and-mortar stores, with MCV and gamers online reporting that stores such as GAME and HMV are selling the game today in the UK, blatantly breaking the official release date by a full day.

It is standard for major releases to arrive in the UK on a Friday, so it seems retailers are reacting to that demand to make some big bucks, with the likelihood that once one major retailer broke cover the others duly followed. It does demonstrate the disappointing truths that we highlighted this week; despite a developer's and publisher's intentions, cynical retailers and impatient gamers often make a coordinated release — and the shared surprises therein — an impossibility.

We've reached out to Nintendo UK for its perspective and will update accordingly.

[via mcvuk.com]

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User Comments (62)

Peach64

#1

Peach64 said:

I only realised today that the release date was tomorrow. I bet loads of stores just putting it out with the new games and didn't even realise. Tons of my friends got online orders yesterday and there was one unhappy guy saying he regretted pre-ordering at Game as he had to wait til today.

They really should have paid more attention to the release dates, but those of us in the UK are bombarded with US advertisments via websites, so you tend to ignore the dates on the ads by default and assume it will be out the closest friday to that date, so it's easily done.

Linkstrikesback

#2

Linkstrikesback said:

Uh, and why exactly wasn't it getting a friday release in the first place? You know, like virtually every other game in existence? (That isn't named GTAV).

Saturday is a stupid day to release something. (In the UK)

NintendoLee

#3

NintendoLee said:

I'd rather get the game a day early with the postal system as is than getting it the day after. I can see why they post 2 day

Shouldn't be sold in stores before release though.

ThomasBW84Admin

#4

ThomasBW84 said:

@Peach64 - I see what you're saying, but retailers have a responsibility to play by the rules, and it shouldn't be "easily done", they're supposed to be professional businesses.

Visor

#5

Visor said:

I think you're blowing this all out of proportion - a couple days before release is no biggie. I've not seen any news from the games so I'll be just as surprised. Unfortunately release dates will always be broken.

SunnyShores

#6

SunnyShores said:

@ThomasBW84

agreed. the wanted a worldwide release, something nintendo worked for. it's not ok for retailers to do this. not only is this an issue of respect, but business. the lack of professionalism is obvious here. i'm waiting patiently for the game, everyone else can manage as well

ToxieDogg

#7

ToxieDogg said:

@ThoamsBW84 I ordered a copy of Pokemon Y for my nephew and it arrived yesterday from Shopto. You can criticise them for sending it a little early but what else where they meant to do? I ended up getting my GTA V from them a day late because of massive demand, and not only that they have a pledge (like many online retailers) to get the game to you in time for launch day...they can't predict how bad Royal Mail will be, so they have to be a little safe in order to avoid angry customers and lost sales themselves. Even more jarringly for Shopto is their promise that if you ask for recorded delivery and they don't get a game to you on time for launch, then they have to give you £5 credit....whilst that attracts customers, it also means that they're not going to wait too long to send games out either.

The 'worldwide release' idea was doomed to fail, Nintendo were naive in the extreme to think it would work.

mookysam

#9

mookysam said:

Online stores post early to ensure customers who have preordered get their game by release day. Some games I preorder online arrive a day early, most on the release date itself, but a few have arrived a day or two after. I don't feel bad that my copy of Pokemon arrived yesterday.

High Street shops selling early is a different matter.

ToxieDogg

#10

ToxieDogg said:

The thing about high street stores though, here in the UK at any rate, is that all major games releases are on a Friday usually. So if people make a special trip into their local city centre today to buy Pokemon and get told no, you can't actually buy it until tommorow, then tommorow they'll probably just go and buy it from a nearby supermaket or somewhere else instead. I can completely see it from the side of the stores here, they have a business to run and this economic climate is as tough as it is, without turning away paying customers from one of the biggest releases of the year on the day of the week that every other game gets released.

This story shouldn't be big news anyway, who really cares if some people got it one day, others got it the next? That's the way it always is with game releases. As long as everybody who wants it gets it, that's all that matters and a few days from now everyone will be too busy playing it to even remember what's happened today anyway.

Icinesss

#11

Icinesss said:

Well, I got my copy from GAME an hour ago, and it doesn't seem to be working I am not sure if Nintendo have locked access to it on UK Consoles until tomorrow but it's really getting on my nerves, I paid £40 total for it I expect it to work.

JD316

#12

JD316 said:

I think that it is to be expected that you receive the game on the release or the day before if you preorder online, that's just luck of the draw in my opinion, it is not uncommon for Game to deliver a day early.

But for them to openly sell them in a shop (where they have 100% control over when it gets to the customer, unlike online deliveries) that is obviously just ignoring the instructions Nintendo sent to them.

However, did it ruin the simultaneous day release? No, because would've had it earlier than Europe. Spain, France etc. earlier than the UK and UK earlier than US due to the midnight release in stores and on the eShop. So I don't think it would've been all that great anyway (BTW I'm from the UK).

Bulbousaur

#13

Bulbousaur said:

Guess I'll just be a good little consumer and wait until tomorrow for my Amazon order...

Burning_Spear

#14

Burning_Spear said:

Nintendo has all the leverage with a title such as Pokemon. No game retailer wants to be left out. Next time let GAME and HMV get it a day late.

JD316

#15

JD316 said:

@Burning_Spear I agree, small independent retailers will never have a look in when big companies are abusing the system. Imagine if they sold GTA earlier than the release date!

eza

#16

eza said:

heh, here in spain the largest high street retailer will sell whatever they have in stock. they don't care about 'release dates'. It's making them more money on the shop floor than it is in the store room!
I suppose Nintendo can't do much about it - if they didn't supply this particular retailer then they'd sell half as many units.
I love it - got my wii U three days before the official launch, and picked up many games up to a week before they should be released.

Ernest_The_Crab

#17

Ernest_The_Crab said:

@Burning_Spear But then wouldn't the companies just point all blame at Nintendo? I can see where you're coming from but it could do some damage to Nintendo's reputation if the game arrives late.

EDIT: I forgot the "do"

Haxonberik

#18

Haxonberik said:

I an still mostly unspoiled in the games at the moment anyway (with the exception of the possible look of a certain legendary), I even stopped following Serebii on Twitter a pair of days ago to avoid spoilers. Well, I'll have to wait a full week more, so let's see how much more time I can avoid the spoilers.

unrandomsam

#19

unrandomsam said:

@ThomasBW84 If Nintendo really wanted to stop this they could - Don't ship anything until the release date from the factory. Put them on the eshop at the time. Retailers get them when they get them. (Nintendo more than likely gets more money from the impatient). Hard to expect retailers to respect the rules when Nintendo does things like : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2375967.stm (Far more heinous crimes)

Triforce83

#20

Triforce83 said:

Just shopped at Sainsbury and i was shocked to find they too were selling X and Y!! For the people saying "a few days don't matter etc" remember that Nintendo and Game Freak worked really hard to make a world wide release possible and its all been wasted due to major retailers breaking the rules, they should be punished imo.

ThomasBW84Admin

#21

ThomasBW84 said:

@unrandomsam Every business does things wrong, but that doesn't make it OK. Ninty price fixing from 2002 doesn't make sloppy retailer behaviour in 2013 acceptable. Sorry, I don't buy into that kind of outlook.

DESS-M-8

#22

DESS-M-8 said:

As a way of apology and obvious profit ships will make from this Nintendo product, they should work with Nintendo over Christmas and give the Wii U its high street visibility back. They're happy to break the rules and use nintebdo products that make money, but then shove to the back something that is trying to find its feet. All consoles had a proportionate amount of wall space each, now i go in an I see ps3 and Xbox blasted over the entire shop walls, with 3ds and wii u to shop floor shelf space. All that does is make the consumer question it's position, if it's not on the wall, it's nearer the bargain bin,
Bad psychologically to consumers.

AlexSora89

#23

AlexSora89 said:

Um, aren't we making a mountain out of a molehill?
I'm not defending day-one-breaches, mind you, but it's not that much of an issue, either. To me, a near-worldwide release may suffice, as long as, say, all regions get the game within the same month (as was the case with Kingdom Hearts 3D, for example).
U.S. gamers getting Brawl months before Europe was way worse than a few people getting Pokémon one or two days before the release date.
I mean, day one has been broken by a few days, not a week or more (IIRC).
Also, I'm getting the game via the eShop, so I'm among the "unlucky" ones myself.

Matts14

#24

Matts14 said:

@ToxieDogg The point isn't that someone got it a day earlier than someone else that isn't A big deal its pretty standard. The problem is that those companies have written agreements of trust and law with Nintendo which have been violated, which is unprofessional of them as we'll as criminal and some sort of disciplinary action will most probably be enforced. If not then it would not be unreasonable for Nintendo to refuse bissness with them.

Icinesss

#25

Icinesss said:

Australia got the game 24 Hours before people in Britain so technically that's not fair is it?

edhe

#26

edhe said:

If I travel into the city tomorrow to find they've sold my copy, I'll be extremely cross.

Though judging by the advertising space they've given it (still wall to wall GTA V), I doubt anyone would have really noticed it was out today.

Arcamenel

#27

Arcamenel said:

Look let's be realistic here a "worldwide release" wasn't really ever going to happen honestly. Japan still would've gotten it before everyone else with other countries in similar time zones following suit. A store selling it a day early is not nearly as bad as those doing it a whole 2 weeks ahead of schedule.

I still prefer this to before when Japan had the game several months before everyone else and importers had full game walkthroughs on Youtube by the time it got here.

Spoony_Tech

#28

Spoony_Tech said:

Why is everyone getting upset by a couple of days?!?! Is this really messing the worldwide release date. There will be some that won't get it for a few more days what about them?! If you ask me its still within the worldwide release date. A couple of days is no big deal! I'm patient and can wait till midnight tonight. So what if some got lucky and are maybe almost done beating the game!

DreamyViridi

#30

DreamyViridi said:

Stores selling the game a couple of weeks from the release date is terrible and near unforgiveable in some cases; but this is just one day which isn't bad at all.

I basically agree with @Arcamenel.

Blue_Yoshi

#31

Blue_Yoshi said:

Damn why can't Gamestop break the release date? I have to work 32 hours this weekend, I'll be picking it up once I get out of work tomorrow but if it had released today that would have been perfect.

Williaint

#32

Williaint said:

Technically, you can legally download the game today, due to the time-zone differences ;)
However, I'm getting retail, as my 3DS lacks the space :/
I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get at least one, as the local Best Buy doesn't seem to have too many Nintendo Fans...

Dooggggg

#33

Dooggggg said:

I got mine at Grainger Games, earlier, the guy at the counter said he's been playing it since Wednesday!

123akis

#34

123akis said:

Maybe retailers thought it was released on Friday as most Nintendo games are released on Friday

Triforce83

#35

Triforce83 said:

Well i have my pre-order with Game which regardless to the fact they've breached their agreement with Nintendo and selling it today, i will be picking up Pokemon Y tomorrow which is Nintendo's official release date and once i buy it i will be a proud bunny that I bought it on the actual release day :) (note - if they've sold my copy i will be using my Ocarina and playing the song of time)

Absol07

#36

Absol07 said:

In México, they started to sell it on Octuber 10, that excalated quickly D:. I also preorder and they say your product is already in the store.

Mk_II

#38

Mk_II said:

Here in the Netherlands the usual release day for Nintendo products is Friday. Most stores receive their stock on Thursday and a lot of them put it on the shelves the same day. Same thing happened recently with the Zelda limited edition disc... come Friday morning most copies had already gone.

Flowerlark

#39

Flowerlark said:

Auuuugggh, is it tomorrow yet?!?!?!?

I'm just keeping my internet surfing to a minimum and not reading other comments until I've had a chance to play the games myself. I'm on tenterhooks over these games, so I'm trying hard not to spoil it too much for myself.

Bass_X0

#42

Bass_X0 said:

Got my Pokemon X from Asda at 11am this morning. Been playing it at work. Beat the first gym and evolved Fennekin before I finished work for the day.

SanderEvers

#43

SanderEvers said:

@GeminiSaint You said it.

This really isn't a big deal. Most stores get their stock one or two days early, and they want to sell the game. Sure this gives them an unfair advantage over stores that do wait. But with a game as populair as Pokemon, who can blame them?

JellySplat

#44

JellySplat said:

I don't care about those "early access" losers. It's coming out tomorrow for crying out laud!

Hamguar

#46

Hamguar said:

@Link41x They may be, but that depends on UK's laws and Nintendo's desire to press for it. I know here in the US there are stiff penalties. Where I work if we get reported for breaking release it can be from a 5,000-10,000 fine and most likely someone's job.

NavySpheal

#47

NavySpheal said:

@unrandomsam It would be nonsense to ship on release date. I'm not trying to put you on the spot, but games need to be there on release date. Not be on their way.they are shipped beforehand to make sure not problems occur that can cause delays on the release date. This is all the stores' fault, and it's a shame that Game Freak and Nintendo's dream of having a worldwide Pokemon release was shattered, even after all the hard work the did to accomplish it.

ClayBigsby

#49

ClayBigsby said:

I can't say which retailer I work for, but there are a lot of inaccurate assumptions being made about the situation.

wombatkidd

#50

wombatkidd said:

Nintendo sent pamphlets to Brazil telling shop owners there that anyone who breaks the release date won't get copies of games until the day of release from now on. They should follow through on that. And pursue fines where contracts have been made. People can say they're making a big deal out of nothing all they want and try to say Nintendo is the bad guy for going after them, but these companies had contracts set up and deserve whatever they brought down upon themselves by breaking them.

@SanderEvers Yeah, one or two days isn't so bad. But some stores broke the release date weeks ago. I should also point out that "who can blame me?" isn't going to hold up in court when you get sued for breach of contract.

GamerZack7

#51

GamerZack7 said:

Practically every first-party Nintendo release comes out on a Saturday in Australia, so it's not really too out-of-the-ordinary for me to get it today.

unrandomsam

#52

unrandomsam said:

@AeroTech They released the Luigi DLC digital first. It depends what their priorities are. (They are other ways they could stop it but they would cost.)

PrincessSugoi

#53

PrincessSugoi said:

Annoying. Seriously annoying and I hope these retailers get punished in some way. Shipping out copies early to ensure they arrive by the release date is one thing, actually putting copies on shelves and deliberately ignoring instructions is another.

Dambuster

#54

Dambuster said:

@princessSugoi annoying? how? your a gamer and you get to play the games sooner? no one looses out by selling the game a few days early! The blind devotion to nintendo some show on this site is funny. For years my local Game has been breaking street dates, its win win, I buy the game from them and come back for more games, and I get to play early!

johnvboy

#55

johnvboy said:

My take on this is that high street retailers should not be selling the game early,that being said you can hardly blame online companies sending the game out early as they want their customers to receive the game for launch day.

Rockstar north were being very unreasonable when a game in such demand had to have copies going out a little early,it's just not logistically possible to pack a massive number of orders and send them out on that day,and in Amazons defence they will have to refund postage to anybody who was guaranteed a launch day delivery and it goes past that.

Shop to did not send my copy of the wind waker HD out soon enough for it to arrive on launch day,I simply then bought it at a store and sent my Shop to copy back to them when it arrived a day after launch,in my opinion you should get a pre-ordered game from an online retailer at launch day at the very latest.

WiiLovePeace

#56

WiiLovePeace said:

Eh, who cares. Not everyone buys games at launch day anyway. If someone gets it early, great for them, enjoy! If other's don't want it spoiled then don't read the spoilers posted on websites. It's not a big deal, I'm used to getting games months after other regions, I don't worry about spoilers then, why would I worry about them now?

johnvboy

#57

johnvboy said:

" @SanderEvers Yeah, one or two days isn't so bad. But some stores broke the release date weeks ago. I should also point out that "who can blame me?" isn't going to hold up in court when you get sued for breach of contract. "

wombatkidd,

It makes no difference if a high street retailer breaks the date by one day or a week,the fact is they have broken the release day agreement.

As for retailers getting fined or punished in some way I doubt this will happen,companies like Nintendo and Rockstar need retailers and any talk of legal action is always going to be more a PR stunt than anything else.

edhe

#58

edhe said:

I feel cheated.

I was looking forward to getting loads of streetpasses on my 3DS through this launch, but In the end, I only got 4.

The clerk told me that people got a text message regarding the early release and were at the shop within 10 minutes. He, a 3DS gamer himself was unaware of the early release.

Nethertheless, I got in and out of the city within 20 minutes (I took the bus especially), taking away a download version of Pokemon X. Funnily enough, they had sold out of Pokemon Y, and although I was able to get the download version Polemon Y if I chose to, I decided X was the one for me.

Anyway, I'm off to work today at 3:00 until 1:00, possibly, so I'm going to have a little go on it when it finishes downloading.
Given the chance, I would have definitely opted to buy Pokemon yesterday when I could get those streetpasses and I wasn't working.

scrubbyscum999

#60

scrubbyscum999 said:

This always happens. It's not that big of a deal and Nintendo still did an overall EXCELLENT job of keeping stuff relatively underwraps until right up around release date. It's Pokemon, people are going to do whatever to get it. It is a gaming community like no other.

unrandomsam

#61

unrandomsam said:

@ThomasBW84 They did it for over 10 years and still do it in the US (Where it is more than likely legal just not ethical). Selling a few games early is still a triviality. Rockstar did a little bit better but they still didn't manage to stop it. Only way would be digital only on day of release.

(Retailers always only act in their own best interests. The exception being Amazon that acts in the customers best interests as well.)

GoombaJMR

#62

GoombaJMR said:

@Dambuster You don't get it do you? It is true that you get to play the game sooner and all that, but the point is that they are breaking rules that should be respected, and it would be better if every place released the game on the same day, so that everyone together can enjoy the game at the same time.

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