Up to now, the NPD sales charts have only included disc-based titles in the monthly lists. Digitally distributed games are counted but only on a quarterly basis. In an interview with GamesIndustry.Biz, Anita Frazier has said that they’ll be stepping that up to monthly reporting.
Whether or not the figures actually returned by NPD are a fair representation of sales is another question. Recently, Tiffany Steckler of EA said that NPD stats were a misrepresentation of the industry due to the amount of digital sales the tracking company doesn’t account for. It has been claimed that EA sees forty percent of their sales by digital methods. This increase in attention for downloaded sales should go some way to addressing that, with NPD apparently working with more digital sellers to get a better read on the market.
However, to the best of our knowledge, NPD still does not track Wal-Mart or Toys R Us for physical sales. Instead, that sales data is estimated using supposedly advanced algorithms. It is estimated that NPD’s data accounts for only sixty to sixty-five percent of the actual market and in an environment (digital) where periodic discounts have such an effect on sales, estimating forty percent of the retail sector might leave the results overly vague. Isn’t it about time we had a comprehensive charting method, not just for the U.S. but globally?