After 5 years of probing and telling the industry that digital tracking is coming, it is nearly here. With backing from a few publishers, NPD will be looking to finally include digitally downloaded games into their monthly report.
“Following several years of beta testing, the Digital Games Tracking Service will allow participating clients to understand the size and growth of the digital market, and analyze attach rates and other important metrics. Combined with physical data available by NPD, these clients can gain a better understanding of the interplay between the physical and digital sales channels,”
Many can argue that video game sales numbers in reports by the US-stat tracking service the NPD has been almost useless. It’s been incomprehensible, the exclusion of digital sales only told half the story. Soon, that’ll change.
NPD will start tracking digital sales of games across Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Steam. It still won’t show the whole, as it’ll only include digital sales as reported by the publishers who decide to opt in. That includes Activison Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Square Enix, Take-Two Interactive, and Warner Bros.
Until mega publishers like Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Bethesda and Sega opt-in, we will not be where we need to be in regards to digital game sale reports. Other digital marketplaces like Nintendo’s eShop, EA’s Origin, Blizzard’s Battle.net, and Good Old Games also won’t be included in NPD’s reports. It’s safe to say The NPD has ways to go before we can consider it completely accurate, but at least its a start.
“We recognize that there’s still a ways to go, we want more publishers to join, we want to be able to project for people who are not participating” – Liam Callahan
Digital tracking has been way behind compared other industries like movies and music. Billboard started to include digital downloads over 10 years ago, and introduced music streams as of December 2015. Compared to others, the video game industry and digital sales report has been way behind and still has a way to go.