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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.”

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

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