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NPD group tiptoes towards digital sales tracking

You cant handle the truth!

US stat tracker NPD claims its decision to drop individual sales numbers for game software and hardware in favour of a top ten by title hasn't gone down well in some quarters; the silver lining is it's promising a new report which will, for the first time, capture digital and mobile sales.

GamesIndustry.biz reports that NPD analyst Anita Frazier has justified the decision as a way of sparing distress to certain parts of 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 said.

NPD is intending to "augment" the cut-down monthly report with an additional report. Games Industry: Total Consumer Spend is to measure "the other avenues consumers are acquiring games content."

GI.biz went on to mention a preview of that report puts those "other avenues" (i.e digital and mobile) at around 40 percent of the market. In other words, current point-of-sale stats for games which rely solely on physical sales are now passed being two-thirds accurate and steaming towards being half on the money.

If NPD can pull off the new report with any accuracy it should be useful reading, but a report encompassing sales for mobile and all major digital distribution outlets including Steam, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, the Wii Online Network, Facebook and other web game app providers sounds like a mountainous task given the level of secrecy most businesses attach to their figures.

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Justin Kranzl

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