Best Buy: Diablo III Release Date Was Incorrect
[Update 2] Best Buy sent Game Informer the following statement on the matter:
Unfortunately, an incorrect date was displayed on signage for the highly anticipated game Diablo 3. While customers can pre-order the game, the release date has not officially been announced from Activision/Blizzard. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and are taking steps to correct the information.
[Update] Micah Whipple, community manager for Blizzard and @Bashiok on twitter, has confirmed that Diablo III does not have a release date by saying, "Diablo III does not have a release date. Any store or person claiming otherwise is guessing." It's not much of a surprise but still slightly disappointing.
[Original story] Joystiq is reporting that a twitter user has posted a photo of a piece of Best Buy marketing that points to a February 1 release date for Diablo III. There is a lot of evidence to contradict this exciting release date, but there is also some evidence to support Best Buy's claim.
First the supporting evidence. The photo in question, obviously, and many retailers are listing the game for release next month. Best Buy's website and Target both have the game pegged for a February release date. We also know that Diablo III is going through the ratings board hoops, although that isn't necessarily indicative of the game being near completion.
Now, the contradictory evidence. In the image, February is misspelled, which does happen admittedly (although I wouldn't know anything abouut about that), but that's a pretty glaring mistake for such a big release. In response to the image, Blizzard's Community manager, @Bashiok on twitter, responded by simply saying "lol" and that, "Retailers will not know a date until its officially announced through a press release." Gamestop, Amazon, and Walmart all have the game listed with either a non-February date, or no release date at all. February is only 25 days away, and I'm sure Blizzard would want more time than that to promote such a big release. And finally, Blizzard has never offered an official release date for the game.
I spent a lot of time in the retail world of video games before making my way to Game Informer, and we had a joke that when a game was in the computer with a release date that landed on the first of the month, that meant it had no release date. The first of the month was always a placeholder release date so that reserves could be taken in the computer system. Also, February 1 is a Wednesday, and release dates always fall on Tuesdays, unless you're Nintendo. Nintendo releases its games and consoles on Sundays.
We have reached out to Blizzard for comment, and will update this story when we hear back. February 1 would be great, but it all just seems very unlikely.