NPD, the retail sales tracker, has been criticised by major videogame publishers including EA and Activision for not including digital sales data in its monthly reports.
According to a report at CNN Money, the industry is unimpressed by NPD’s continued reliance on retail sales for its figures.
“We see NPD’s data as a misrepresentation of the entire industry,” said EA’s Tiffany Steckler, who also suggested that using NPD’s figures as a measure of games sales was akin to analysing music sales without data from iTunes.
NPD do release a quarterly (rather than monthly) look at digital sales, but it’s unclear what these estimated reports are based on as digital retailers such as Steam tend not to release information pertaining to sales.
An NPD claimed that digital sales account for 48% of PC game sales in the US.
Either this report was close to accurate, in which case it suggests NPD’s other figures (those which do not include digital sales) are somewhat meaningless. Or it indicates that NPD is unable to properly track digital sales at present, placing its relevance as a sales tracking firm in question.
Until we have some accurate, clearly-sourced sales figures from digital retailers across all platforms, correct sales information will remain elusive.