Tears of the Kingdom is right around the corner, with many players ready to go on launch day, but the exact time the new Legend of Zelda game will be playable varies depending on your region.

Fortunately, we’ve broken down when you can expect Tears of the Kingdom to be playable so you can jump straight into Hyrule and begin your exciting new adventure.

What Time Does Tears of the Kingdom Digital Become Playable?

Nintendo has confirmed that the digital version of Tears of the Kingdom will become playable at the following times:

  • West Coast US: 9 PM PDT (May 11)
  • Phoenix: 10 PM MDT (May 11)
  • Illinois: 11 PM CDT (May 11)
  • East Coast US: 12 AM EDT (May 12)
  • UK: 12 AM BST (May 12)
  • Europe: 12 AM CEST (May 12)

If Tears of the Kingdom is still locked for you after its release time in your region, here are some potential fixes.

Scroll down to see a countdown for each major location

It is worth noting that the midnight launch across the globe means you can play Tears of the Kingdom a day early with the New Zealand trick!

The Switch home screen with Tears of the Kingdom on it

Additionally, if the game launches at midnight in your region, that will be when Thursday night transitions into Friday.

Tears of the Kingdom will not be playable before these times. You must wait until it launches officially in your region in order to be able to access the digital version.

If you try and play Tears of the Kingdom prior to the launch time, it will say, “This console will use the internet to check whether the software can be played.”

If you select Check and it’s not launch time, you will get the message “You cannot play this software yet. Would you like to view more detailed information on Nintendo eShop?”

Choosing to go to the eShop will just bring you to Tears of the Kingdom’s store page, with the release date found at the bottom.

The error message that appears when you try and play Tears of the Kingdom early

Countdown to Tears of the Kingdom Playable Unlock Times:

Time ZoneCountdown
NZT (New Zealand)
AET (Australia)
JST (Japan)
CET (Europe)
ET (East Coast US)
CT (Illinois)
MT (Colorado)
PT (West Coast US)

Of course, make sure to preload Tears of the Kingdom right now so that it’s ready to go when it launches in your time zone.

Link standing with the people of Hyrule in Tears of the Kingdom

Tears of the Kingdom “You Cannot Play This Software Yet.”

If you get the error “You Cannot Play This Software Yet” when trying to start Tears of the Kingdom, it is likely because the game has not been released yet in your region.

However, if the problem persists despite the game having officially released, try the following:

  • Restart your Nintendo Switch. Remove it from the dock and then hold down the power button located at the top of the console.
  • Reboot your router. It could be that the issue is with a weak internet connection preventing your Switch from confirming the license.
  • Reinstall Tears of the Kingdom. As a last resort, attempting to reinstall the game is likely to fix this issue. Just make sure that the game has definitely been officially released in your region before doing this.
The You Cannot Play This Software Switch error message
Former Staff Writer
Whether it's an indie platformer or a 100-hour JRPG, Tom loves talking about games. So much so, he made it his career. Since starting in 2020, he's covered a wide range of topics at sites including TheGamer and The Game Crater.