NPD: News of beleaguered industry "caused unnecessary angst"

Sales tracker acknowledges less retail reporting "a hard pill" for some to swallow

The NPD Group has acknowledged that its decision to report on US retail sales in less detail has been a bitter pill to swallow for some in the industry.

But it said the move is necessary as the news of month-on-month declines at bricks-and-mortar stores has caused "unnecessary angst" and doesn't acknowledge the new games economy of digital sales coupled with pre-owned growth.

"While this news was, in some cases, a hard pill for some to swallow, we believe it is an important step for the industry," said Anita Fazier, analyst at NPD. "Why? Because we've long acknowledged that our reporting of monthly point-of-sale purchases (covering new physical sales of hardware, software and accessories only, not used game sales) did not represent 100 per cent of the consumer spend on the industry.

"Since new physical sales at retail have been down for some months now, the news that the industry is beleaguered has been widely covered, and it has caused unnecessary angst for many," she added.

"So, while the monthly POS sales reporting still represents the majority of the consumer spend on the industry, we believe that by reducing our reporting on that portion of the market, and augmenting it with our new report, Games Industry: Total Consumer Spend, which looks at, and measures, the other avenues consumers are acquiring games content, we would provide a better, more comprehensive look at just how big the games industry is."

Early details of that report, to be released later this month, has found that sales of mobile, online, digital and second-hand games, accounts for up to $2.9 billion for the first half of 2010, or 40 per cent of the US market.

Added Frazier: "The games industry is experiencing one of the most transformative periods in its rich history; new technologies and ways of gaming, new consumers being introduced to gaming, and new avenues of distribution all play major roles and we're excited to be evolving our coverage of the market to accommodate the industry."

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Latest comments (10)

James Ingrams Writer 11 years ago
It's the end of gaming as we know it - and it's being hidden by NPD and the games companies.
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Art C. Jones Writer / Blogger 11 years ago
Yeah, this is an Ostrich move, but hiding your head doesn't help, it just makes you look silly.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 11 years ago
Surely rather than just 'cloaking' the US new retail sales, they could gather as much data they can about digital and pre-owned sales and be as candid as possible with the data...?! We're unlikely to ever get a full, clear picture of these two lines of revenue, but the best way to analyse the overall health of the industry is not to stop freely reporting the only solid line of figures we do have!
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Jordan Lund Columnist 11 years ago
The problem isn't that digital sales aren't being reported, the problem is that Nintendo's market is saturated and the Wii and DS sales are down. Both the 360 and PS3 are doing fine at retail and show an increase over 2009 numbers.
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Frank Bowen Sr. Project Manager, THQ11 years ago
It is interesting that NPD is making a decision to not disclose detailed information about a market that is changing. I would think that our industry is approaching a dynamic shift and that this would be the moment we would need the most information, no matter how good or bad. Angst is a good thing. We should be concerned about the future and motivated to change to meet the demands of the consumer. The industry needs knowledge. I really wonder what is motivating this. I would think at this point having this information would be well worth the money spent...

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Frank Bowen on 20th October 2010 8:44pm

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Matthew Eakins Technical Lead, HB-Studios11 years ago
I think it's more an issue with them not disclosing the information for free any more.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 11 years ago
Perhaps some portion of that angst is the sad fact that MANY consumers who formerly bought more games aren't buying as many at retail thanks to their financial situations. That, coupled with the amount of folks who still don't purchase game digitally (despite the figures, there's still a large enough percentage of the gaming public that doesn't regularly buy download-only content for any number of reasons) are stuff you don't see talked about/written about much if at all.

No matter how lousy things get, the industry keeps trying to place shiny happy shareholder-friendly news all over the place rather than see the marketplace as needing room for ALL sorts of ups and downs related to retail and online shopping. Feh.
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Waqar Ali Studying Games Design and Production Management, University of Abertay Dundee11 years ago
What are we, scared children who can't handle the facts? As others said, more detail is the way to solve this problem, not less =/
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Took them long enough to discover "the most transformative periods in its rich history" which is going on for a couple of years now. It seems that NPD itself is one of the major players that is shaken during this transition.
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Allan Simonson Co-Founder, Boomzap11 years ago
I suspect this more than anything is driven by highstreet retailers wanting to reduce the constant drumbeat of bad news from destroying their share values. Since the key sales data they provide is the driver for NDP's product, it wouldn't take more than one or two of them to threaten a halt in sales numbers for NDP to cave. That this might screw with the decision making abilities of the rest of the industry is largely irrelevant, much like NDP itself.

The only sad part of this is that we're going from a point where we could at least look at CERTAIN parts of the games industry and derive real numbers from them, to one where everyone's reduced to the kind of foolish fortune-telling we've seen in the console downloadable space (extrapolating sales from highscore entries, etc). The publishers and portals all HAVE the numbers, that they refuse to share them is just a sign of the industry's lingering immaturity.

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