Through the looking glass: Strange things have been afoot in the gaming world thanks to the mania over the coronavirus. From conferences being canceled to strangely silent keynotes with a seemingly plastic audience, it is not turning out to be a spring the community is used to. And right now, a game is being sold that doesn't actually launch until tomorrow.

Reviews for Doom Eternal began rolling in this week and they have been overwhelmingly positive. That is good news for those who wait before throwing their money down, but what is even better is that they can get the game a day early if they are willing to leave home.

Doom Eternal was slated to come out March 20, which is Friday — tomorrow as of this writing. It is also the same day that Animal Crossing: New Horizons is launching. With two highly anticipated title releasing on the same day, GameStop became concerned that crowds coming to pick up the games at stores would create a social distancing problem.

To help stem the tide of gamers flooding the stores, the company tweeted that it would begin selling copies of Doom Eternal today, March 19, a day before the official release. Animal Crossing will go on the shelves tomorrow as planned. The somewhat unprecedented move is a “safety precaution” that staggers the releases to limit exposure to the coronavirus the company said.

It is curious that GameStop is predicting large crowds during a time when everybody is paranoid about gathering in enclosed spaces. It would seem that the biggest sellers of these hot releases would be any of the half dozen or more digital stores, as well as large retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and others vending physical copies from their websites.

The struggling game store has had a hard enough time keeping its doors open and attracting customers. One would imagine that social distancing would only make matters worse by keeping the eager crowds away.

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