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Each month, The NPD Group releases a detailed report that tracks the sales of new physical video games at retail. The problem is that the percentage of games sold that are new, physical, and at retail is shrinking as more consumers embrace digital. That percentage is only going to get smaller with the release of the digital-heavy next-generation consoles later this year.
This has pushed the NPD report, as it is known for short, out of relevance. But the company isn’t giving up.
The customer-tracking firm plans to begin keeping tabs digital sales later this year. In an interview with Games Industry International, NPD game group president David McQuillan confirmed that the organization has already signed on with nine publishers to begin tracking sales. It wants to get this digital-tracking product out as soon as possible due to the impending launch of Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which are highly geared toward digital distribution.
“We fully realize that the market needs the same level of information for the digital categories as exists for the physical business today,” said McQuillan. “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. NPD has formed a leader panel to track digital [sales] of full game and add-on content downloads. It is an important and critical step toward that goal.”
McQuillan couldn’t confirm which publishers he is working with. The data will track sales on consoles, PC, and portables.
NPD will also track digital sales on a global level. Currently, its monthly report only comprises North America.
For now, The NPD Group plans to keep the digital-sales data separate from its traditional monthly report. It will, eventually, combine the two products, but it isn’t talking about when that will happen.