Local gaming website NZGamer reports that EB Games has instructed its New Zealand branches to begin selling the World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm ahead of its scheduled 9pm on-sale time. That means that you can pick up your copy right now.
According to NZGamer, EB Games made the decision "citing frustration at online retailers shipping the game early", and the retailer has justified the move by stating that the content cannot be enabled until 9pm New Zealand time anyway.
It's unclear at this point in time as to whether there will be any penalty for those who pick up their copy of Cataclysm early and attempt to enable it before 9pm. The decision by EB Games, however, is unlikely to impress Total Interactive, the distributor for Blizzard titles in New Zealand.
Game Console has sought comment from Total Interactive. Stay tuned.
UPDATE - 12.02pm: As tends to be the case once one retailer breaks street date, NZGamer now reports that JB Hi-Fi has followed suit in response to EB Games' decision not to respect the release embargo set by Blizzard.
UPDATE - 12.32pm: Add Mighty Ape to the list. Customers can now pick up their copies of Cataclysm from Mighty Ape's warehouse.
UPDATE - 1.05pm: Aaaaand now Dick Smith has also come to the party. In other World of Warcraft: Cataclysm news, though, it seems that the European servers have already crashed following the expansion's recent launch in that territory. This does not bode well - will we experience the same over here come 9pm?
UPDATE - 1.42pm: Game Console now understands that EB Games' decision to break the embargo was a global one and not an initiative taken exclusively by the New Zealand stores. Although we're yet to make contact with anyone able to provide official comment on behalf of EB, it's understood that the move was to counter the advantage afforded to those who purchased the expansion digitally. Those players are already able to download the client and can run Cataclysm from 9pm without the need to install anything further. On the other hand, those who purchase physical copies may need to sit through a potentially lengthy installation process, putting them at a slight disadvantage.