ESA: Industry needs its own weekly top ten sales chart

By Stephany Nunneley
29 June 2010 23:04 GMT


Michael Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, has said that the games industry needs its own form of top ten sales chart just like film and music.

Speaking during a press conference earlier in the month, Gallagher said that NPD figures only reveal so much to the public and something more transparent was needed.

“I do think that the movie industry has a significant advantage over other forms of media because on Monday morning… whether you are driving, or looking at the newspaper, what’s there: The top ten movies. What’s next to that? Numbers,” said Gallagher.

“I don’t know if they are completely accurate, but we’re trained to believe they are. And that helps the movie industry.

“I think there is thought, because you now have significant revenue, and growth and investment and where that flows you tend to get better information. Reporters ask for it, investors certainly do and then there are consumers. There is an advantage to the companies to figure out a way to report that.

“We are looking forward to that evolution, I’d like to see it move faster,. I think this industry is accomplishing great things across a far great reach, than is traditionally reported.”

Digital sales are gaining steam and NPD keeps track  of the sales, but it only releases comprehensive data to its clients – game developers and publishers.

Using Zynga as an example, Gallagher pointed out that the company’s worth was in the vicinity of $4 to $5 billion dollars, yet the firm’s sale are not tracked by NPD.

“It has a phenomenal rate of growth that is not captured,” he said. “So there is a disconnect.”

NPD released a report earlier this month that showed $4.5 to $4.75 billion spent on digital content in 2009 compared to $10.5 billion on boxed titles, and according to the firm’s David Riley, NPD doesn’t plan to release digital figures publicly any time soon.

“Will NPD be releasing comprehensive digital sales tracking insight into the public domain? We will probably issue some research on a regular basis, but it won’t be at the level of detail that you may be expecting,” Riley said. “This is information we will keep close to the vest. Remember, we are here to serve our clients.”

While a more detailed and accurate list of numbers would be appreciated in the public sector, no list will be entirely complete without sales numbers from Walmart – which doesn’t share its data with anyone, said Riely.

When asked if the ESA had thought of providing a more reliable set of data, Gallagher replied: “Someone had better do it or you’re going to have a trade association doing it. It has got to be done.”

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