Microsoft announced plans this week to launch Halo 4 on Nov. 6, kicking off a new era for the blockbuster Xbox 360 franchise. If the date sounds familiar, it’s because there is another pretty big event also happening on that day: the U.S. presidential election.

The coincidence has generated all sorts of conspiracy theories about Microsoft’s motivations. My hunch is that the company simply made a pragmatic choice to go ahead with the date, knowing it was the election, because it needed to work around the launch schedules for other big games this fall.

These games traditionally launch on Tuesdays, so the choices weren’t as numerous as it might seem.

Probably the worst part for Microsoft is that the timing could make it tougher for the company to generate media attention for the Halo 4 launch, with much of the press focused on the election.

Thinking optimistically about the political engagement of Halo fans, maybe we’ll see an increase in absentee ballots from hard-core gamers who plan to line up on Nov. 5 and spend Nov. 6 in front of their consoles.

Microsoft says in a statement, “We are confident that ‘Halo 4’ will be one of the biggest entertainment launches of the year, and fans will be excited to celebrate the new ‘Halo’ saga and the return of Master Chief on Nov. 6.”

Vote in our exclusive tracking poll below.

Previously: Conan O’Brien visits Microsoft, tries out for Halo 4 role

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  • Christopher Budd

    Or, more likely, they picked the date and no one realized it was election day until they were already committed (cf. Lumia 900 launch on Easter Sunday). :)

  • Guest

    This is a brilliant strategy. This year’s election is widely expected to be a snoozer — Intrade is predicting the incumbent to effectively win as if he were unopposed — so Microsoft is wise to counter-program what should be an utterly dull and boring TV news graphics-fest. Besides, since Microsoft owns 40% of MSNBC, couldn’t they simply deliver the inevitable news over Xbox Live so as not to disrupt gaming time?

  • AGraves

    So, what more can my son ask for. Nov 8th – turns 18, first election AND Halo 4, I don’t think he could have a more memorable birthday!

    • AGraves

      Opps…. mistyped… Nov 6th!!!

  • Dracono

    I can see the marketing on this already :/  “Vote Master Chief…”

  • Manov rao

    Good Strategy.

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