GameStop, Wal-Mart breaking Wii street dates

Santa Claus is filling his bag with major holiday Wii titles a little early this year, but there’s a problem.

He’s not allowed to have them yet.

Rayman Raving Rabbids: TV Party and Animal Crossing: City Folk are hitting the streets early at select GameStop and Wal-Mart stores.

Beneficiaries of the early sales are showing proof of their purchases across the Web. Both Wii Fanboy and GoNintendo have published reader-submitted photos of opened cases, game discs and instruction manuals over the last 24 hours.

Major retailers have been breaking street dates for years. This year alone, blockbuster titles such as Rock Band 2 and Fallout 3 have slipped by cash registers prior to their scheduled release dates.

Though pleasing to lucky customers, publishers can levy penalties for broken street dates. Retail chain K-Mart was fined $10,000 in October for selling copies of Fable II in Australia prior to its release date.

A more serious financial wrist-slap, K-Mart was also prohibited from selling Gears of War 2 for the first two weeks of its availability.

Ubisoft’s third Rayman Raving Rabbids minigame installment, TV Party is scheduled to release Tuesday. Nintendo’s City Folk, the latest in its popular Animal Crossing simulation series, is due out Sunday.