That squeal of fanboy joy you might have just heard is due to the fact that Microsoft announced that there will be a Halo 4.

Yes, you heard right. Halo 4 will be released in time for holiday 2012, marking the start of a new trilogy for Xbox 360 and giving gamers yet another foray into the world of the Covenant and the Spartans. The game is in development at Microsoft's internal 343 Industries, and this puts a lot of pressure on them, as this is the most profitable gaming franchise Microsoft has.

OK, some of you don't care. But Major League Gaming is big business. Halo Reach became the 3rd best selling game of 2010 (just behind Call of Duty: Black Ops and Madden Football and sold 4.7 million units by 3Q'11. At $59.99 a unit, you do the math). And loyalty – it's a critical component of being able to meet or exceed expectations that move at the speed of the consumer imagination – is really important to a franchise like this.

This year we added Major League Gaming to our Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, and the dozen franchises that received top mentions ranked as follows:

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Halo
  3. Battlefield/Madden Football
  4. World of Warcraft
  5. Starcraft 2/Batman Arkham City/Diablo/NBA 2K12
  6. Crysis
  7. Gears of War
  8. Elder's Scrolls of Skyrim

For the Halo introduction a trailer features Cortana pleading for help from John (aka, Master Chief), after events of Halo 3 when Master Chief is left in cryostasis. Master Chief awakens and returns to confront his destiny and face some ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. Then some really cool stuff happens.

Of course, what's really cool is all that loyalty. And all those sales.