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Retail

NPD clamps down on media access to sales data

Mon 28 Mar 2011 12:29pm GMT / 8:29am EDT / 5:29am PDT
RetailMedia

Group asks analysts not to discuss sales and remove media from mailing lists

The NPD Group has warned analysts that they are not to supply any confidential sales data to the media, as it continues to tighten access to publicly available information.

The company recently removed sales figures from its monthly reports and now only releases a top ten of best-selling games in the US without solid numbers. It has also stopped reporting hardware figures, although individual manufacturers are free to release the data.

Going further, NPD has asked that analysts remove members of the media from their mailing lists and not discuss stats with reporters or outlets.

Companies such as Wedbush Morgan and Cowen & Company include select NPD sales figures in their regular notes, informing investors of the performance of publicly traded games companies such as Activision, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft.

NPD has most recently been criticised for not providing a realistic picture of the digital sales landscape in the US, but it told GamesIndustry.biz recently that it is putting plans in place to closely monitor the market and report with monthly information.

8 Comments

Thomas Palpant Writer/editor for Gamebible.biz, a french industry videogames website

6 0 0.0
I don't understand this attitude.. Is it for a financial matter? NPD numbers are really precious for the whole industry. Analysts just disclose a few numbers every month, this is really frustrating

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Dan Amerson General Manager, NC, Organic Motion

4 1 0.3
I think that's the point. NPD numbers are precious and NPD would like more people to pay for them.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

John Donnelly Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
Dan is correct.
Information is valuable if there is a market for it.
As they are the only ones with the numbers they are making sure there is no way to get it without paying.

Though, taking a stock price as a comparasion, the data loses its value very quickly.
You can get stock tickers on a 15min delay but if you want real time access you pay for it.

The NDP could release the data after the fact and still allow the media to digest the data without closing them out completly.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Stuart Green Studying BTEC Games Development, Derby College

7 0 0.0
Why is it you can get sales figures of films quite freely, yet with games it's all so secretive??

I can understand that NPD want to keep some of the information confidential, but only giving sales info on the top ten titles. Why?

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Peter Dwyer software engineer, openbet

24 0 0.0
I suspect this will backfire in a most spectacular way given that there will be no sales figures to report and no solid information on what games are and are not doing well.

There is such a thing as shooting yourself in the foot, which NPD are doing rather spectacularly at the moment. If the figures are not publicly available then they loose all meaning to the public at large and so we will simply loose interest.

This is something that both the record and film industries learned decades ago.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,196 1,176 0.5
I'm thinking it's not only for profit, but to hide some of the lousy sales that have been affecting speculators investments. We're going to head back to the whole "shipped" versus "sold" nonsense, nebulous reports of digital sales that can't be confirmed and other fudgy numbers that are going to make things look oh so rosy so some folks can rake in cash before it all comes crashing down around our ears.

I think we're being lied to endlessly about how super things are going on some fronts (while some studios are dying on the vine left and right) and I can't see how the hell cheap and free games can prop up things for longer than a year or two more if they become more of a standard everyone tries to copy. At this point in time, the games market has reached the status of both the baseball card and comic markets of the 90's and it'll crash harder because no one wants to slow down and think about anything but shoving as much product out, quality be damned.

Not to say there aren't good games out there to play across all platforms, but some "casual" users don't even care as long as they get their fix and have change left over for the dollar menu...

But I could be wrong (I don't keep score these days)...

Posted:3 years ago

#6
Much of this is the result of VGChartz... NPD makes a lot of money "selling" sales figures to firms, and they stand to lose a lot if the public information is close to the "more reliable paid" (in theory) information.

VG have been using NPD to "calibrate" their figures and algorithms for years (and other figures as well).

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Shaan Khan Writer

1 0 0.0
Sure, we all like knowing these figures, but the only people these figures really matter to are the people with money at stake. Sales figures are a distraction to the general public anyway, as they become meaningless sales points for publishers to rehash every time they release the latest iteration of whatever FPS they've been riding for the last decade, and only help to maintain the even more meaningless console war. Let those who need to know, pay to know. I couldn't care less.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

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