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The NPD Readying Digital Sales Tracking for End of Year

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The NPD Group has been reporting on monthly game sales in the U.S. for quite some time, but hasn’t been able to account for digital sales at retail. The analyst group is hoping to change that by year’s end.

According to Games Industry, the NPD has been developing a way to track digital games at point-of-sale. The move comes in response to the Entertainment Software Association taking the NPD to task for not featuring enough digital sales transparency.

“We fully realize that the market needs the same level of information for the digital categories as exists for the physical business today: SKU-level POS. The progress on that effort up until recently has been slow and frustrating at times, but today I am very happy to share that the pace of progress has changed recently,” David McQuillan, president of the Games group at NPD, said. “NPD has formed a leader panel to track digital POS sales of full game and add-on content downloads. It is an important and critical step toward that goal. Leader panels are often formed as a precursor to a formal launch of a POS tracking service.”

McQuillan agreed with the ESA that more market transparency was needed, and hoped to have its system in place ahead of the launches of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year. Nine publishers are already on board, however the NPD isn’t allowed to discuss which companies are participating in the testing at this time.

“Once we move past the beta or proof of concept phase, subscribers will have access to the full data set, which you would expect of any service. The level of information to be shared publicly has not been determined at this time,” McQuillan said. “We are in discussion on a number of initiatives to enable more frequent reporting.”

Currently, the NPD reports on total sales figures in regards to revenue, and lists the top ten games of every month, though specific units sold are never discussed. Hopefully part of the coming change will include actual sales numbers for the U.S., a statistic that has been sorely lacking save for positive press releases from developers and publishers.

Next: 25 Best XBLA Games

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