German Shipping Info Heats up the Release Date Bingo

We’ve seen numerous retailers post (always incorrect) release dates for Diablo III. In fact we’ve got another one of those today, with a reader pointing us to a screenshot of his WalMart pre-order email notification, which states that Diablo III will be in stock on March 31, 2012. As Wal-Mart has been issuing new release dates every 3 months since about 2009, I think we can safely ignore their prediction.

Of much more interest is this post from Diablo Gamona, which states that Blizzard has reserved large amounts of space in shipping warehouses in Germany for the the 7-8th weeks of this year. The Google translation is lame, so I’ll quote Nobbie, who translated from a link provided by LeSauce in comments.

Update: More precise translation added, courtesy of dc in comments.

As we heard this afternoon from a reliable person, dozens of several meter high packed palettes are *expected* to be brought to a big international transshipment point in the 7th or 8th calender week (yes, this year). The destination: the big German department store chains Media Markt, Saturn and what they are all called.

It is understandable that because of several reasons the source couldn’t tell us (meaning: wasn’t allowed to tell us) the date of distribution, but calculating 10-14 days means Diablo 3 could hit the shelves end of February or beginning of March. The so called “Gold”-versions as well es the guide books should therefore be printed right now.

How far can we trust info from an anonymous German shipping clerk? Especially when it seems to contradict Bashiok’s “the release date will be announced two months in advance” forum post from Friday? I guess that’s up to you to decide.

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61 thoughts on “German Shipping Info Heats up the Release Date Bingo

  1. Bashiok didn’t say they *will* announce it two months before release, he said “traditionally we’ve tried to”. Just like traditionally they’ve tried to release a game much sooner than this after announcing it…

    Tom Chilton also used the word “traditionally” when he denied that Pandaren were being added to WoW: “If you look at traditionally how we’ve handled that race it’s been in those secondary products because we haven’t realized it in the world. Most of the time when we do anything panda-related it’s going to be a comic book or a figurine or something like that.”

    A few months after he said that they announced Mists of Pandaria.

    So traditionally every time Blizzard has used the world “traditionally” they’ve been lying.

    • That’s right. “Traditionally they try” were his exact words, but this whole Korea thing is anything but “traditional”. The shipping/space reservation info is 100% reliable, even if they can cancel week 7/8 again (as they already did in Nov 2011 when they originally wanted to ship). ^^

      • Can we please just stop with  the korea thing? Seriously? Does it have to be brought up in every single news post?

        • +1.   the RMAH has NOTHING to do with the delay!  They can release to korea VERY EASILY without RMAH enabled.  It’s a freaking button that they can remove based on region.  STOP REPEATING THIS BS!

          • I’m not sure if people are actually saying it’s the RMAH… it’s about the GRB, which is related to the RMAH. As we know, the Korean GRB has still withheld its rating even after the RMAH was disabled.

            But when it comes down to it, it’s more about their desire for a global release and the weighing of profits by releasing without a large chunk of the Asian market or with it. Personally, I think a few extra weeks of delay would be well worth that margin of profit.

            While it’s probably not, and hasn’t been, the SOLE reason for the delay, I wouldn’t discount it as a moot correlation.

            So I guess what I’m saying is that I think you’re misinformed about why Korea has an impact on the release date. With or without the RMAH, the GRB still hasn’t rated the game and thus has an impact on release – even if it’s minute in its importance.

    • Another point to the two month which Bashiok mentioned: Starcraft 2’s final release date was announced in june and was available in jule. So only a month and not two like he said…

  2. If this is true, reserving warehouse space is undeniable sign of release. And late Feb/early March seems to fit the best with all predictions based on games and betas current state. Again, if this is true, which is a fairly big if.

  3. I think it’s interesting, and while we can’t trust it to be true, neiter can we trust Bashiok.
    Apart from his role in the community, I really doubt he gets informed about everything that’s going on at Blizzard.

    • I am sure he is well aware of all the things happening, being a CM.

      But – he is not in a position to make big announcements (like release date). So, it’s not that we can’t trust him, its just the limited type of information he can give us.

      • Well, we can’t trust Bashiok because he’s a bit like Shelob. Or Cydaea. He likes to play with his food before he eats it.

  4. Well that interesting ^. I am prepared to believe that Blizzard has that as their new internal release date target.
    BTW week 7 is last week of Feb and Week 8 is first week of March so factor in shipping to stores etc gives 2nd half of March/start of April as the earliest for D3 release. Working backwards gives traditional release date announcement (based on Bashiok statement) of between the 16th and the 28th of Feb. So nothing said by Blizzard rules it out at the moment.

  5. so… as bashiok already mentioned we are about to get info on the release date about 1-2 months before release, means in the next 2-4 weeks we should get one if theres any truth to it. Didnt he say that he will gonna be informed about some major changes in the game soon for new info? And then they are already producing the gold-state discs of the game? uhm… or patching it afterwards maybe, dunno.

  6. “If it is true”
    “If it is not cancelled like they did late 2011”
    I wish I could somehow stop following this and be pleasantly surprised when I receive a mail that I can start the pre-download.

    • i’m with ya on that idea.  I so badly want to stop coming to this site.  But when I’m working and bored, I just can’t f’ing help myself.  It’s pretty aggravating.

  7. It can very well be true that they start producing the retail versions this month, but only to have that out of the way. Since updates are mandatory for playing, I’m sure we’ll have to download a patch right after installing the game (which may be an unfinished version just for shipping).

    Hell, they could’ve shipped and stored the game right now if they wanted, because they know it won’t be playable until their servers are up.

    • well, its obvious that some persons may give information on any productions away to the press, but I think thats wyh blizzard would make the release public before such things can happen… why already have a date for sending the cds when theres still no official release date?

      • Because if you don’t reserve spots early enough there might not be enough room left… empty storage space is lost money for the logistics guys.

  8. The boxes might be empty. In all seriousness, beside, for all we know, whatever offline support from a CD the game may need (likely not much given that it’s online only) may just be in a shippable state – but the game not ready because 99% of the stuff would be handled online anyway.

    In other even if the final CD/DVD’s exist, they likely aren’t an important part to the whole process. Therefore, shipping them 6 months beforehand could still be a viable thing to do.

    • “In other even if the final CD/DVD’s exist, they likely aren’t an important part to the whole process. ”

      I always thought that the final DVD is THE most important part of the whole process

      • I have my WoW cd’s, but never used them. They could be literally just be a redirect to D3’s download website at this point.

          • I said exactly it could potentially not be the case for D3. They might have been to the point they’re at 5 months ago, it doesn’t matter if all they do is redirect your download somewhere.

  9. i call BS – photos or it didnt happen – to me that gues is not any better than best buy etc.

  10. @incgamers:
    The translation is not accurate.
    I’m a native german speaker and the mr. anonymous did NOT state that “blizzard reserved large amounts of space in shipping warehouses” BUT “we expect several pallet packaged with diablo 3 on an internation trading site which will be delivered to stores afterwards” (note from me as the translator: It’s clear from the context that “Umschlagplatz”, which I translated as “trading site” is meant as a synonym as a port/harbour/terminal)

  11. Diablo III is a Steam game. The game itself is done, just the games mechanics (spreadsheet stuff, auction house functionalities, …) arent done jet. All the audio files and the graphics are on the disc already and won’t change anymore. All the other things can easily be updated with a day 1 Steam patch we surely have to download.

    /edit: this post was in response to an other post. dont know why that didnt work this time.

  12. To clear up any possible translation mistakes I’ll translate the most important part for you again (I am native german):
    “Wie wir heute Nachmittag von einer zuverlässigen Person erfuhren, werden in der 7. bzw. 8. Kalenderwoche (jawoll, diesen Jahres) Dutzende, mehrere Meter hoch gepackte Paletten mit den Diablo 3 Standardversionen und Collector’s Editions an einem grossen internationalen Umschlagplatz erwartet. Der Zielort: Die grossen deutschen Shopketten wie Media Markt, Saturn und wie sie alle heissen.”

    As we heard this afternoon from a reliable person, douzens of several meter high packed palettes are _expected_  to be brought to a big international transshipment point in the 7th or 8th calender week (yes, this year). The destination: the big german department store chains Media Markt, Saturn and what they are all called.

    “Das Auslieferdatum durfte die Quelle aus verständlichen Gründen nicht preisgeben, aber wenn man mal von 10-14 Tagen ab Grosslager ausgeht, dann könnte Diablo 3 Ende Februar bzw. Anfang März in den Läden stehen. Die sog. “Gold”-Version sowie die Handbücher dürften demnach gerade in der Presse sein.”

    It is understandable that because of several reasons the source couldnt tell us (meaning: wasn’t allowed to tell us) the date of distribution, but calculatin 10-14 days means Diablo 3 could hit the shelves end of february or beginning of march. The so called “Gold”-versions as well es the guide books should therefore be printed right now.

  13. I don’t see why this would be indicative of a release date.
    I worked in retail a lifetime ago, and you’d get all kinds of games well before they ever came out, with tape across them that had the street date listed on it.

    So assume this is correct, and Diablo gets shipped to a gamestop. They’ll just be sitting in the back room until it’s released. This is done to make sure everywhere has an amount to sell.

    And if you think someone could just take one home, install it and start playing, I defer you to the encryption in SC2 and the fact that it’s online only.

    • That may be so indeed. But what is important for us? The indication that the goddamn game is nearly completed and is in the “soon to be shipped” state, which is, in its turn, the indicator of an inevitable release.

  14. We can assume that they are getting ready for a release, internally they might have one release date already but i’m sure they won’t tell us until “it’s done”. Let’s just stick to the 2 month warning that Bashiok promised us. So don’t expect any release before March the 9th 2012. Why?
    With all the puzzle pieces we got so far:
    1. we know that beta giveaways will continue till the end January. (plus at least 1 month for people to play it)
    2. blizz commited to a global release (RMAH and Korea’s Gaming Board aren’t BFFs just yet)
    3. shipping the game to retailers is aiming for week 8 plus 15 days.
    4. at least 1 beta patch is expected with BIG changes, that didn’t come out yet. (expect at least another month of testing and another final patch after that one)
    What it seems to be happening is that retailers start knowing about these stock reservations and start doing some basic math on it, that DIDN’T include all those points i mentioned earlier. Bashiok’s comments only say that those shipments don’t have any release date stamped on them, never denying that retailers stocks are already being prepared.

  15. Wow this site has taken a turn for the worse fast. First all the ads sitewide which is understandable, but then all the crap articles about non-issues and endless speculation. First you claim Bashiok says no stores have any information, and all dates you see are pure speculation – then you keep posting more articles on stores that make their own release dates… bleh. And Flux who once was the best reporter is *only* posting crap.

    • Yawn. 🙄  Why don’t you submit all the ‘good’ news they are missing in that case, there is a big button on the page to do so.

    • @Bait “First all the ads sitewide which is understandable”

      What, “first”, as in since 2000?  That’s a long time to let something slide before mentioning it isn’t it.

      On topic – This should be taken as a positive sign.  If they’ve made an actual booking for space it means they have a reasonable expectation of needing it.  Sure, they can easily cancel it as they did before but they can’t keep pissing off a warehouse by having dobs on their precious storage area and then cancelling.

      Week 7 and 8 runs from Monday 13th February to Sunday 26th February which would put us into beginning to mid march on the shelves (Early 2012 just and Q1).

      I don’t think they’d ship to a warehouse and hold stock for any length of time either, I don’t see the advantage of doing that.  They haven’t done that before.

      • In December, when the relase date speculation ramped up, there was a comment by a (female) German blue poster that said “the optimists (among the forum posters) are a bit too optimistic (regarding the date), and the pessimists too pessimistic”. She also talked about the “silence before the storm”. The optimists saw Diablo 3 on the shelves in January 2012, and the pessimists in summer 2012. So, March 2012 sounds just right. 😉

  16. Surprise! After all the delays, big beta patches, more invite waves, game system overhauls, and RMAH testing the game is almost ready for their ANNOUNCED “early 2012” release, even with enough time to (almost) back Bashiok’s “traditionally” statement! Who would’ve known? Those guys sure are tricky!

  17. We will be playing Diablo 3 by the end of March.  I think that is almost a certainty.  I might just cry while it is installing.

    • I agree. If the blue posts refer to a “traditional” release date announcement, and Blizzard shooting for Q1, this leaves us with a potential announcement anywhere from tomorrow to the end of this month. That is three weeks. One could argue that Blizzard should be able to narrow down whether or not they can make this estimation, but then again I wouldn’t be surprised if something stalls the progress once again.

    • They are probably going to re-vamp the cursor and bring back the gauntlet. Listing pros and cons.  😉

  18. I think if we play Diablo 3 by March, we are playing a rushed, incomplete vision of what they want to give us.  There seem to be *so many* things up in the air, I can’t fathom that they’ll be able to wrap it all up in a matter of weeks.

    The incomplete runestone system is fundamental to the rest of the game’s balance.  With that in limbo, I don’t see how itemization, resistances, monster balance, or skills could be finalized.  Hell, they just recently decided to make followers viable to end-game — doesn’t that, in itself, mean a complete overhaul of numbers? You can’t just plop them into the game and hope everything works itself out.

    Maybe I’m overestimating the work they have to do, but I really wasn’t expecting a release before June.

    • You are indeed overestimating =)

      Its been in development for, like… 6 or 7 years. This is A LOT. Right now they polish things and at the same time decide which iteration of this or that system suits best.

    • Because apparently the past few weeks didn’t happen… Just because they give a small partial update on the state of the game every now and then doesn’t mean it’s not constantly changing while they aren’t giving updates… Don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise… By the way, the decision to make followers end-game viable was not recent at all… They had level 53 follower specific items on the game guide from the very first day they had any items on there… They obviously made that choice months ago and just recently officially acknowledged it… That just goes to show you how slow Blizzard is to talk about where the game really is… 😕

    • Upon installing the game you will most certainly download a big patch. Content that didn’t make it in the game that they are working on right now. You see… they can sit around polishing for years to come, but there will still be bugs in the game. Hopefully the crucial game systems are nearing full completion though. You also have to keep in mind that a lot of the game data is stored server-side, and is subject to constant change in case of balance and itemization. *Crosses fingers for a March release.*

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