Published November 06, 2012
Do you know about the universe-saving efforts of John-117?
For 20-something men and women, he is a returning savior. Known more commonly as Master Chief, he is the hero of the multibillion dollar Halo video game franchise, and at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 6 he embarked on his newest mission to save the universe in the game Halo 4.
Coincidentally, the mission coincides with another important event: the presidential election.
Microsoft insists the Halo 4 release date is a happy coincidence, but some experts wonder whether the franchise is an unwelcome distraction for both parties, especially with the Halo fanboys.
“I'm not voting this year,” says Mark LoCastro, a public relations manager. “And if I look at the guys I game with and guess whether or not they'll vote, [only] about three out of eight will vote.”
LoCastro says his reasons for not voting have nothing to do with the game. But for many gamers who have pre-ordered the game and will be checking the driveway for FedEx rather than hitting the local polling facility, Tuesday means more than just a new president. The game's battle cry “forward unto dawn” means more to gamers than any election catchphrase, and a certain sidekick named Cortana who features in the game as a major plot point means more to them than any VP candidate.
“There will always be that percentage who are too cool, too cynical, and too ignorant to be bothered. I would guess that's between 10 and 15 percent of the kids of voting age,” says Jon Peddie, a gaming analyst.
“The idiots who can't get a date and look at the women's breasts in the games will definitely find Halo 4 more interesting than something that requires thinking,” he said. But Peddie cautioned that most younger adults are likely to make the right choice.
"The majority of young adults, especially the ones voting for the first time, will go to the polls," Peddie told FoxNews.com.
Ive been waiting for months! Im so excited to go vote & let my voice be heard! Wait...WHAT?HALO 4 is out today? Well...F%# voting then!!!— carlito (@Bodyguylito) November 6, 2012
Game publisher Microsoft said the danger to the universe shouldn't prevent anyone from spending a few minutes driving to the voting booth.
“Halo 4 has supported a get-out-the-vote campaign for several months that began with voter recruitment efforts at major consumer events like New York Comic-Con, as well as a voter registration program on Xbox LIVE,” a spokesperson for Microsoft and developer 343 Industries told FoxNews.com. “Microsoft also partnered with Rock the Vote to encourage and facilitate voter registration. We’re continuing the message at major launch events this evening and more than 100 college campuses nationwide.”
The company added that those who watched the debates through Xbox Live received a free gold Spartan armor for their in-game avatar. And when gamers boot up today, they will see a reminder to vote.
While no one has hard data on whether Halo 4 gamers will influence the election, there is a logical argument that suggests Halo 4 could have some effect. Tech analyst Charles King says recent polling data suggests that younger voters are already less interested in this election cycle than they were in 2008, and that gamers might decide to buy the game and skip the vote all together.
In a quick Facebook poll of younger gamers who can vote, many said they had mailed in a ballot so they could focus on the campaign. (Meaning, the one involving Master Chief.) A few gamers said they will make the time, but as more of a duty than because of any particular interest in the election.