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Gears of War 3 ships early to some GameStop UK customers, note asks them not to play

Gears of War 3 is in stores tomorrow, but some lucky fans in Europe have managed to get their hands on it already through entirely legal channels. The game was reportedly arriving as early as Saturday, September 17, for customers who pre-ordered the game for a launch day arrival from MCV. The mailing included a note informing all recipients that “this game should not be played until Midnight 19th September.”

A GameStop UK spokesperson commented on the early mailing in a subsequent update from GameStop, according to MCV. “It was actually a mistake it moved through Royal Mail system quicker than anticipated and nobody should have got it until release,” the retailer revealed.

“The note was just a provision in case some people got it today instead of tomorrow. Release dates are very important part of the launch of any game and we view them as vital to the industry. It’s early days and we are working hard to give the consumers the best experience we can but breaking streets dates is not part of our plan.”

GameStop is left in a tough position here, forced to weigh whether maintaining the sanctity of the street date — something the company has historically stuck to its guns on — is more important than placing trust in the mail system to ensure that fans receive their purchase by the game’s launch date. What do you think?