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Future NPD reports to include monthly digital sales data

US group acknowledges difficulty in creating proper valuations in a growing digital market

The NPD Group has told GamesIndustry.biz that it is working towards including digital sales data in its monthly reports.

Video game publishers have been critical of NPD stats as digital formats grow, with EA going so far as stating that the data it releases to the public is a "a misrepresentation of the entire industry".

But the NPD's Anita Frazier told GamesIndustry.biz that it has been making further investment in its online consumer panels and intends to increase the frequency of its digital reports - which also include revenue from subscriptions, DLC, mobile, social and rental businesses - from quarterly to monthly.

It will become increasingly challenging for the financial community to create proper valuations of companies in the absence of an objective third-party source covering the entire market

Anita Frazier, NPD Group.

"We are expanding the number of digital retailers we have relationships with in order to develop a digital POS (point of sale) service," said Frazier.

"The goal is to provide our clients with a total POS games tracking service that incorporates the growing digital channel as well as the currently predominant physical format, and to deliver this at the same frequency as we currently do for new physical retail sales (monthly)."

NPD estimates that boxed retail sales still account for 60 per cent of the US market, but it also acknowledges that current sales reporting does not paint the full picture. Frazier said she also expects publishers and digital distributors themselves to be more open with their digital sales figures in the future.

"We expect it to happen, especially as digital grows to become a larger portion of the consumer's overall spend.

"It will become increasingly challenging for the financial community to create proper valuations of companies in the absence of an objective third-party source covering the entire market, and it will be harder for companies to manage their businesses and resources without visibility into all forms of distribution."

Latest comments (4)

Antony Johnston Writer & Narrative Designer 5 years ago
It's a good step, but the real news will be when physical and digital are combined into a single chart. Like with digital music, that could make for some interesting Top 10 charts along the way...
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Gustav Nisser Operations & Project Manager, Exertis Ztorm5 years ago
As Antony said - I'd like to look at the games retail industry as a whole, not just physical contra the digital distributors.
Too often people seem to differentiate between "retail" and digital distribution, which is strange considering digital and physical distribution are two forms of retail (def "The sale of goods or commodities in small quantities directly to consumers"). It's like saying "the music retail industry and itunes"...
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Francois Aube AI Programmer, Electronic Arts5 years ago
If we're going to discuss semantics, how about the fact that physical distribution is, in fact, digital as well, not analog. So both physical and online distribution are retail and digital at the same time.
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Jeffrey Kesselman CTO, Nphos5 years ago
And how are they going to account for all the freemium/digital goods sales where there are no central distribution points??
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