Nielsen wants to get better at tracking video games. To fill in the digital-shaped gap in its data reporting, the market analysis firm has acquired industry intelligence firm SuperData Research, which extrapolates data estimations for digital games by looking at the behavior of 160 million people.
This acquisition gives Nielsen a foothold in the gaming space, which is an industry that is growing more and more concerned with metrics like engagement as opposed to strictly sales. Nielsen, which typically sells its data to businesses, will have to compete with tracking firm The NPD Group, which has reported on game sales since the 1990s. In 2016, NPD started including digital sales in its monthly reports as well.
“Video games have become a mainstream form of entertainment that engages and excites billions of people globally,” SuperData chief executive officer and cofounder Joost van Dreunen said. “In Nielsen, we found a shared vision of helping clients understand the changes taking place in consumer entertainment preferences.”
Nielsen says it will use SuperData to provide its clients with more information about the digital side of games. It’s worth noting that SuperData (and now, by extension, Nielsen) gets its data about digital sales by analyzing consumer behavior, which is inherently flawed. The NPD Group, however, gets its data directly from video game publishers.
“We recognize the growing importance of the digital gaming ecosystem,” Nielsen games and esports boss Chris Morley said. “The combined strength and expertise of our businesses will deliver best-in-class solutions and services to games and esports clients around the world.”
When it comes to esports, Nielsen and NPD diverge. NPD is primarily concerned with consumers spending money on video game products and services. Nielsen and SuperData, however, also track spending on esports — this includes events, tickets, marketing, and sponsorships. As that business grows and attracts new investment, Nielsen should now have the expertise it needs to provide insights to clients who are looking into the space.
“Gamers are the trailblazers for media consumption and have become more important than ever to the global entertainment landscape,” SuperData chief operation officer and cofounder Janelle Benjamin said. “SuperData and Nielsen’s combined capabilities will allow us to provide gold standard insights that are essential to the growth of the industry.”
SuperData has never had the most accurate numbers — although, maybe it did based on the technicality that it was often the only company providing insights into the revenues of digital games. Hopefully, with Nielsen’s resources, its data will improve, and it will keep sharing it publicly.