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.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has arrived! After you've set up character customisation, your island name and chosen the correct season for your hemisphere, it's time to get to work on your new holiday life. Thankfully, we have some Animal Crossing New Horizons tips for that. There is fish to catch (including Stringfish and Sturgeon), bugs to catch, Bamboo, flowers and fruit to grow, hairstyles to unlock, villagers to add, shooting stars to wish upon, tools to craft (such as the new ladder and vaulting pole), materials (such Iron and Gold Nuggets) to find, Tarantulas to catch, wasp stings to avoid and Nook Miles and Bells to make, and of course, a house, museum and most importantly, the town hall and Isabelle to unlock where you can change the Town Tune and check your island star rating. You can also meet Gulliver and Wisp on your travels. Finally - you can take part in multiplayer, download QR code designs, complete your activities ahead of the Animal Crossing daily reset time, use amiibo and learning about the upcoming Bunny Day Easter event and Cherry blossom event.

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.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

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About the author

Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Guides Editor

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


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