TAMPA, Fla. - They're calling it the "Halo Effect," but not in a good way.
Halo is the blockbuster video game franchise especially popular with young people. The long-awaited new edition of this first-person shooter game is set to be released by Microsoft on November 6 of 2012 - election day.
Video games bring in some $4 billion dollars a year. The more elaborate games like Halo sell for $60 a copy and out-gross even Harry Potter movies when they're released.
Game industry writer Casey Lynch explained from San Francisco how big a deal this release of Halo 4 really is.
"Halo 3 came out in 2007, so people have been waiting for 5 years to play this game," said Lynch, editor of IGN.com.
Lynch knows many gamers will hole up for days exploring the new game at the expense of other responsibilities, like voting. He suspects the pick of election day to release Halo 4 was intentional -- not to suppress voting or skew the results, but to get talked about.
"Everyone's going to be tuned in, so they're probably trying to draft on some of that excitement," said Lynch.
Not everyone's excited.
"It's unfortunate, because now we're going to have to compete with that when it comes to getting people out to the polls on election day," complains Democratic activist Tim Heberlein.
Heberlein who is a gamer himself, believes the election-day release could have real consequences.
In 2008, college age voters favored Barack Obama over John McCain nearly two to one. That's why Heberlein suspects the Halo effect will tend to cost Barack Obama more than Mitt Romney in the upcoming election.
Heberlein believes the solution is to encourage early voting and voting by mail.
Former Democratic Governor Jim Davis does not believe in the Halo effect. "Young people who are motivated to vote in this election will vote," said Davis.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Top Political News
TECO and Tampa Water pledge $1.5 million to safeguard Tampa's water supply from the squirrel-caused damage that resulted in a 'boil water' order in February.