It’s called snail mail for a reason, and unfortunately, many gamers have received their games in the mail some time after release date in the past, and will continue to in the future, which is a bummer. To remedy this (or at least spend less on printing and packaging) EA offers digital downloads, which unlock the day of the game’s release, usually midnight.
Fortunately, I was among the lucky ones who received her game almost a day early (while downloaders will have to wait until midnight. University is still greyed out in my origin client though, so no digital copy either). I haven’t had as much time as I’d have liked to mess around with the social features, build/buy and CAS before shipping my sims off (due to prior commitments). Seemingly to make up for this, when I loaded up my game, the mascot strolled up at sometime before the crack of dawn in game, proceeded to hide the welcome kit in a bush, and promptly donned a bikini before hitting the pool in their backyard.