In the past few years, Nintendo has had to deal with many street release dates broken in Europe, with retailers selling games as soon they receive the shipments (as opposed to the actual release date). It’s become a pretty widespread thing in some countries (like France), where games can often be found in stores as early as Monday/Tuesday (sometimes Saturday, in some extreme cases).
And we’re not talking about isolated incidents either. It’s one of the reasons Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire and Pokémon Sun and Moon were released several days after the rest of the world, though there never was an official statement on the matter.
But it looks like the party is over: in a statement sent to GamesIndustry, Nintendo explains that the company is now “consistently reviewing its shipping schedule”, to make sure release dates are not broken. Basically, distributors will now get stock only a few days before release, which means that stores themselves will only get shipments pretty close to release.
This isn’t going to change much for players who buy games at launch, though those who like to get their games early are most likely not going to like this change. Also, independent stores (who get stock from distributors) will have to deal with a much tighter schedule, sometimes even having to pay more on delivery to ensure games arrive on time.