By Andrea Peterson
Yesterday, Microsoft announced Halo 4 will reach U.S. consumers on November 6, 2012 — also known as “Election Day.” To call the Halo series important would be an understatement; the first-person shooter is without a doubt the flagship series for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console and has sold over 34 million games worldwide. Sales of the most recent installment Halo: Reach were record breaking at the time, with over $200 million in sales on its first day This begs the question: With thousands of gamers likely to line up at midnight to pick up a copy of Halo 4, how many will choose to stay in and play over getting out to vote? According Nielsen Games, as of October 2011 35% of 18 to 24 year olds owned an Xbox 360 — the exclusive release console of Halo 4. That’s 35% of the only age group to show statistically significant growth in the 2008 cycle that will have something exciting to distract them from voting on Election Day… and 35% of the President’s base: President Obama won 66% of votes from 18 to 30 year olds in 2008. And unfortunately, gamers who know they will be unable to tear themselves away from the Master Chief on Election Day may find it harder to vote due to new barriers and limits on advance and absentee voting thanks to conservative voter suppression efforts around the country.