Waiting for a game’s release date to arrive can be agonizing, especially when it’s a sequel to a critically-acclaimed series. While there are sometimes ways to start playing games before their normal release date, like pre-ordering Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, most of the time there’s nothing that can be done but to wait.
Of course, there are rare occasions where games are leaked online or are put up for sale at retail stores before they’re supposed to be. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the latest game to leaked ahead of its release date, with full retail copies being sold ten days early in one select area.
Rumors and photos supposedly showing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on store shelves in the United Arab Emirates recently appeared on CD Projekt RED’s official Witcher 3 message board. However, fans were initially unconvinced, believing that the pictures may have simply been taken by a retail worker and copies weren’t actually available for sale yet, as the worldwide release date isn’t until May 19th. Shortly afterwards, definitive proof came in the form of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt gameplay footage being broadcast on Twitch by streamers located in the United Arab Emirates. These streams have since been removed, and Twitch issued an official statement on Twitter noting that streamers wouldn’t be allowed to broadcast The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt until the official release date.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is not allowed for broadcasting until May 19, 2015. Broadcasting before this date is subject to DMCA guidelines.— Twitch Support (@TwitchSupport) May 8, 2015
It’s extremely common for information to be leaked prior to a game’s release these days. These leaks have included revealing the roster of Super Smash Bros. months in advance, a video containing 30 minutes of Dragon Age: Inquisition gameplay, or even ending spoilers and game maps for Witcher 3. While it’s definitely rarer to see a game sold before its designated release date, it was only about a month ago that the same thing happened to Mortal Kombat X. Though it wasn’t supposed to be on store shelves until April 14th, some players were able to buy Mortal Kombat X as early as April 7th.
It can be frustrating to see some gamers get a hold of a game earlier than they should for gamers and game developers alike. It’s only made worse if you’ve pre-ordered a game at a retailer that isn’t offering it early, as other gamers who didn’t put down money in advance can play it while you still have to wait.
Even so, it’s hard to blame the people who jumped at the chance to buy the game early. If you’d been itching to play a game for as long as Witcher fans have, waiting another week might just feel unbearable.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is set to officially release on May 19, 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.