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PC download chart to launch in 2010

Gfk Chart-Track reveals plans to incorporate digital data into sales chart

Digital download sales data is to be included with retail sales in the official UK PC sales chart from the start of next year, Chart-Track director Dorian Bloch has confirmed.

Speaking at Tuesday's London Games Conference, Bloch said that from the start of 2010, publishers and digital distributors ready to contribute will be able to submit sales data to the chart company.

His announcement followed a persuasive presentation in which Bloch pointed out that digital sales now make up a significant proportion of PC sales. "The PC market isn't dying, it's moved on," he said.

The director confirmed that many of the big publishers, including Ubisoft, Blizzard, EA, Atari, Sega and Capcom are all on board to submit data to the chart.

Bloch pointed out that sales of this year's Ashes Cricket 2009 were apparently abysmal on PC when compared to the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii versions of the game.

"Would Codemasters make a game if they were only selling those game units? Of course not," he said. With digital sales taken into account, "the PC market will stop contracting and start to grow again," he predicted.

While sales figures will be collected from individuals publishers selling their games from their own sites, as well as from digital retailers such as Steam and Direct2Drive, individual developer data couldn't be collected at the present, he said. "To go direct to every developer or publisher and get their individual data would be one hell of an issue."

And for the time being, console download sales will also remain unaccounted for. "It's a closed market," he said, adding that he has asked all three console platform holders for their data and all have said not right now.

Bloch admitted a "whole new set of rules" will have to come into play for the chart to work. He confirmed too that any PC product at any price will count towards the chart, meaning that theoretically a one pence game could top it.

The new chart will be able to accurately reflect sales in the PC market though, he said. As well as allow individual companies to "shout their success".

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