NPD Group has said it’s to stop releasing monthly hardware unit sales figures for the US, and instead the public will have to get the information from the console holders.
The change is effective immediately: the NPD release this Thursday, October 14, won’t contain the pertinent hardware information.
NPD executive director David Riley denied, however, that the move is likely to damage clear reporting and analysis of the US market.
“No, it won’t,” the boss told VG247. “Clients can release their figures, which we can verify, but it shouldn’t be up to NPD to release these figures.
“Our corporate publishing guidelines changed, but nothing has changed client-side.”
The move means that none of the hardware manufacturers are obliged to release their monthly US sales figures, but are “permitted” to do so, and will be “supported” to do so by NPD.
“I pay a lot for access to the data”
Wedbush Morgan analysis head Michael Pachter wasn’t surprised by the move.
“I’m not sure why they ever release any of their numbers to the press,” he told VG247 today.
“They probably do so to generate publicity, and they have likely concluded that they get plenty by publishing only a little information, so they want to give less away for free.
“I pay a lot for access to the data, and probably could have skipped the hardware piece and gotten from the manufacturers directly, so they don’t want paying customers like me to turn off their subscriptions.”
NPD will be changing the the following in its monthly reporting:
- Removal of monthly hardware unit sales figures.
- A shift in the Top 10 software from SKU level with unit sales for the top five to a top 10 software chart with no unit sales.
- Revised footnote explaining that the monthly retail data reflects new physical purchases, not total consumer spend (digital, subscriptions, mobile games, rentals, used or social network games). The NPD Group will release a total consumer spend report to press on a quarterly basis.
- Monthly analysis from NPD analyst, Anita Frazier, will include software sales figures at both the SKU and title level for various new releases.
The changes are to “address the changing sales landscape as well as updates to NPD’s corporate publishing policies,” so the only way we will learn of the hardware units sold is through the clients who retain the data: Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony and software publishers.