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When an upcoming game has a release date set, it is my understanding that you will be able to play that game (the digital copy) at midnight the night before; as soon as it actually becomes date of the release.

How does this work with time zones? Do games release at midnight for a specific time zone, such as UTC or Eastern Standard Time? Or does it go by each user's location, so that a player on the East Coast could actually get to play game while a player on the West Coast still has to wait another 3 hours until it is available?

I am especially interested in exactly when I will get to play Mario Maker 2, which has a release date of June 28, 2019. But I am hoping this question can be generically applied to all Switch games.

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I continued searching after making my post and came across the answer. I'll keep this question (and answer) in case it benefits others.

Games will generally be available at midnight Eastern Time.

From Nintendo's website:

What happens when a game is pre-loaded?

A non-playable version of the game will be pre-loaded to your system at the time of your order. You'll see an icon for the game on your HOME menu, but you will not be able to launch the game until it is officially released. You'll be able to start playing it after downloading a small update, beginning at 12:00 a.m. ET on the game's release date. (Please note that some third-party titles are not available until 12:00 p.m. PT on the game’s release date.)

  • Cool, seems to be the same as Netflix but on the East Coast instead. – JMac Jun 24 at 18:21
  • I was worried it would end up being Pacific Time, and then I'd have to wait until the next day to play it instead of just staying up late Thursday night! – GendoIkari Jun 24 at 18:22
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    That's what happened to me with the release date of Dark this weekend, which is why I was thinking about it and the relation to Netflix. – JMac Jun 24 at 18:23

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