• Halo protagonist Master Chief greets a new day in gaming

Just a few days from now, on November 6, Microsoft subsidiary 343 Industries will release Halo 4 for the Xbox 360. While the popular perception of video games is still that they’re just for your basement-dwelling, soda-swilling, neckbearded cousin, the reality is that Halo and other ongoing franchises (Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, the multiple series with Tom Clancy’s name in the title) are among the most popular and profitable media properties in existence—even in the middle of an economic slump, video game sales in the U.S. exceeded $16 billion in 2011, more than Hollywood and the record industry combined.

Considering that first-day sales of Halo 3 in 2007 exceeded what any movie before The Avengers brought in during its whole first weekend, Halo 4 stands to be the biggest money maker of any entertainment product released this year. And considering that online multiplayer gaming has become the single most important aspect of the console-video-game industry, it’s surprising—not to mention ballsy—for 343 to announce that Halo 4’s online multiplayer mode comes with a zero-tolerance policy for sexist and discriminatory speech.