The dramatic advancement of digital distribution, and the sales therein, has been hard to ignore. But the NPD Group, the leading retail charter for the games industry, has so far refused to track digital-only sales in its monthly reports. While the Group has provided general statistics from subscriptions, DLC, and rental establishments in its quarterly figures, many publishers (like EA) have viewed NPD reports similar to “…measuring music sales and ignoring something called iTunes.” NPD has since announced that it will begin including digital sales in its monthly reports, along with data from brick and mortar retailers.
“We are expanding the number of digital retailers we have relationships with in order to develop a digital POS service,” said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. “The goal is to provide our clients with a total POS games tracking service that incorporates the growing digital channel as well as the currently predominant physical format, and to deliver this at the same frequency as we currently do for new physical retail sales (monthly).”
“We expect it to happen, especially as digital grows to become a larger portion of the consumer’s overall spend,” Frazier noted, then adding, “It will become increasingly challenging for the financial community to create proper valuations of companies in the absence of an objective third-party source covering the entire market, and it will be harder for companies to manage their businesses and resources without visibility into all forms of distribution.”