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Animal Crossing New Horizons release time in GMT, CEST, EDT and PDT explained

When you can start your island adventure, wherever you are.

Animal Crossing New Horizons is almost upon us, releasing on March 20th, 2020 on Nintendo Switch in all regions around the world.

Since you might have a digital pre-order through the eShop, you might be wondering when you can start playing.

Though physical copies of the game are playable as soon as you get your hand on them, there is a restriction on when the digital version unlocks - but the good news is, by and large, you can start playing as soon as it's Friday in your region.

This page explains the Animal Crossing New Horizons release time wherever you might be.

On this page:

Animal Crossing New Horizons release time in GMT, EST, EDT and PDT explained

The release time for Animal Crossing New Horizons is pretty straightforward for the vast majority of players - with the general rule that as soon as it's midnight on Friday, March 20th in your region, you can start playing.

The only exception is within the United States due to multiple timezones. However, the good news is it's nationwide- so players on the west coast can start playing as soon as those on the east coast can.

To summarise, here's the Animal Crossing New Horizons release times in your region:

  • UK: 12am, March 20th (GMT / UK)
  • Europe: 12am, March 20th (CEST / West Europe)
  • East Coast US: 12am, March 20th (EDT / East Coast US)
  • West Coast US: 9pm, March 19th (PDT / West Coast US)

It's worth remembering Nintendo does this for every game it releases - something to note if you are digitally pre-ordering the next Zelda or Metroid game.

It should be reiterated noted all of the above only applies to digital pre-orders of the game through the Nintendo Switch eShop. If you have a physical copy, and were lucky enough for it to arrive a day early - then there's nothing to stop you playing right now.


The Animal Crossing 2.0 update and Happy Home Paradise is here! We can help you with the new additions - including where to find Brewster, Gyroids, new villagers, ordinances, new fences, storage shed, new hairstyles, Froggy Chair, group stretching and Kapp'n boat tours. Cooking is now unlockable, so you need to know how to make both flour and sugar, as well as how to grow carrots, potatoes and tomatoes. Meanwhile, if you're new to Animal Crossing, our New Horizons tips can help with the basics. From the off, there's fish and bugs to catch, flowers and fruit to grow with. One long term goal is building your Happy Home Academy score. Finally, you need tools such as the new ladder and vaulting pole to fully explore.


How big is the Animal Crossing New Horizons download size?

Whether you are pre-loading Animal Crossing New Horizons ahead of March 20th, or decide to start downloading on or after release, the file size is 6.2GB.

As well as this, there is a day one patch, whether you are purchasing digitally or physically - so make sure you have an online connection active for the first time you start the game.

Looking for more details about the game ahead of release? We have explainers on multiplayer, saves and amiibo support.

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About the Author

Matthew Reynolds avatar

Matthew Reynolds

Managing Editor

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

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