Doom Eternal was previously slated for a March 20 launch alongside Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but game retailer GameStop has opted to release the game a day early in the interest of promoting social distancing.
Doing so aims to cut back on the number of people that’ll make their way to their local store to pickup any physical preorders or day-one copies, a move that comes as both the CDC and local governments are recommending limits on how many people should gather in public spaces due to COVID-19.
Businesses across many industries have had to shift their usual operations in wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic currently taking hold in the United States and beyond, and the game industry is no exception.
Many annual trade and esports events have been called off due to COVID-19 concerns, while game makers themselves are increasingly favoring remote work to avoid the transmission risks that come with commuting to and working from a collective office.
While some retail chains have opted to close their doors until COVID-19 is under control, others like GameStop have opted to remain open for the time being but have made smaller changes to protect staff and customers.
“To ensure we adhere to CDC-recommended social distancing guidelines, we will be selling Doom Eternal a day early on Thursday, 3/19 as a safety precaution for our customers and associates," reads a tweet from the company. "Animal Crossing will release on Friday 3/20 to further help separate the crowds.”
Currently, the CDC recommends that gatherings be kept to under 50 people, though cities and states in the United States have implemented their own restrictions on gatherings and non-essential outings in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.