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NPD Requests Analysts To Rein In Publicly-Released Game Sales Data

NPD requested that industry analysts stop releasing U.S. video game sales data to the media, the latest move by the group to restrict distribution of its proprietary data. [UPDATE: NPD explains stance.]
Research firm NPD Group requested that game industry analysts no longer release U.S. video game sales data to the media, the latest move by the company to restrict distribution of its proprietary data. "NPD would appreciate it if you and your teams refrain from providing any of our Games data directly to the media," read an email from NPD executive director of client development Daniel De Pinho in a Friday email to industry analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush. "This includes live discussions, e-mails, and/or notes. In some cases, you may have to remove the media from your distribution list," De Pinho added. "Should the media take issue with this, you can feel free to send them my contact information, and I can connect them with the appropriate NPD representative." In October last year, Port Washington, NY-based NPD announced it would no longer list monthly hardware unit sales figures for the media, and it that it would also restrict the information given for monthly software sales. Pachter, who would sometimes release unit sales data not included in NPD's official monthly report, said he would comply with NPD's request. This latest move means that sales data for U.S. video game retail is becoming further clouded -- sales information will now primarily come from game companies themselves that wish to release their NPD-gathered sales data. NPD charges clients in the video game industry for their research services. By reining in public information, the company is protecting its business model and the privacy of its paying clients. The firm will continue to release to the media monthly dollar figures and sales rankings for the video game industry. The policy emphasized today is apparently geared primarily towards unit sales figures of hardware and software. [UPDATE: Contacted by Gamasutra, NPD Group said that the organization is not trying to "freeze out the media" by taking control of the monthly data. The company explained its stance in an emailed statement: "We have heard from our clients and retail partners that NPD information is increasingly out in the public domain without proper attribution, incorrect context and in other ways that is not in the best interest of our clients or the industry. It is our responsibility and right to manage the usage of that information, and our Financial Services clients have agreed to help us and the industry in this regard." The statement added, "There was no 'warning' issued at all. We are not freezing out the media as it has been portrayed. Instead, we are looking to work even more directly with the media than we already do to ensure our information and insights are used responsibly."]

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