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NPD Group Tightens Lid On Monthly U.S. Game Sales Data

NPD Group said beginning this month, it would remove certain sales figures from its monthly U.S. video game retail report, including unit sales for video game consoles and top-selling retail games.
Port Washington, NY-based NPD Group is reining in the proprietary sales data that it publicizes monthly for the U.S. video game retail industry, beginning with the next NPD sales report due this Thursday. No longer will the research firm list monthly hardware unit sales figures for the media, and it will also restrict the information given for monthly software sales. Most recently, NPD would list monthly unit sales figures for the top five-selling video games, ranked by individual platform versions of a title. Beginning this week for the September 2010 U.S. retail results, there will be no sales figures offered in a regular list format, and games will be ranked not by individual versions (SKUs), but by undisclosed total sales of all versions of a given title. But NPD said that game analyst Anita Frazier will publicize a monthly analysis, which will include select software sales figures "at both the SKU and title level for various new releases." In the past, NPD would release to the media the top 10 games by SKU, complete with unit sales of both hardware and software. Every month, NPD reports sales data based on about two-thirds of retailers in the U.S., extrapolating the available data and reporting it monthly. The firm reports on a wide variety of industries aside from video games, and makes its money by providing research services such as sales tracking. The firm added that with its monthly data, it will start adding the note that all data "reflects new physical purchases, not total consumer spend (digital, subscriptions, mobile games, rentals, used or social network games)." As much less trackable digital revenues increase, the firm's physical game tracking has become marginally less important, though still a key public touchstone. NPD is currently adapting to track revenues from other business models outside of brick-and-mortar retail purchases. In particular, the firm said it would release a total consumer spend report to media outlets every quarter. The firm will continue to report monthly sales revenue broken down by categories including hardware, software and accessories. NPD also will begin reporting physical PC gaming revenues monthly.

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