Japanese game retailer Bic Camera has broken the street date for Resident Evi – sorry, Biohazard 5 – but curiously, only the Xbox 360 version, leading some to speculate that Microsoft has a hand in the matter.

Biohazard 5 officially came out in the Land of the Rising Sun today, March 5th – but the picture in question was taken at major Japanese retailer Bic Camera yesterday, the 4th. As Kotaku’s Ashcraft points out, while the breaking of street dates isn’t uncommon here in the States (or even overseas in places like the crazy-capital-of-the-world, Dubai), it’s actually fairly rare in Japan.

That in and of itself wouldn’t be all that interesting were it not for the fact that Bic Camera was only selling the 360 version early. Nor was it just the game, either – they had the special RE5-edition red controller & console on the shelves as well. One can’t help but wonder: If you’re a major retailer looking to break street date on a gigantic title for whatever reason, why just do it for one console? Why not do it for both?

Given that the 360 has a much smaller install base than the PS3 in Japan, maybe Bic Camera was hoping to slide under the radar with this? Some troubled Japanese gamers, though, are beginning to wonder if Microsoft might have been behind Bic’s jumping the gun. Or are these rumors unfounded – what do you think?

(Hatimaki Blog, via Kotaku)

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