EA and Activision Call Out NPD

By basically saying their sales data is utter crap. Okay, maybe they didn’t use those exact words, but it’s not far from what was stated by EA’s Tiffany Steckler:

“Using NPD data for video game sales is like measuring music sales and ignoring something called iTunes….We see NPD’s data as a misrepresentation of the entire industry.”

The spat came about after NPD reported an 8% drop in total game sales; something the publishers didn’t want to hear. It should be noted though that NPD fails to track game sales through digital distribution sources such as Xbox Live and Steam. While many gamers have known of this issue for a while now, industry outsiders such as the media tend to ignore this fact.

Ironically, game publishers will still tend to use NPD numbers whenever they report something good about their sales.

For their part, NPD has stated that they have a report that addresses the digital side, albeit a bit incomplete. This however, is no fault of NPD’s; some digital outlets like Steam simply refuse to give NPD the data in the first place, making it difficult for them get precise estimates.

Analysts such as Michael Pachter agree with NPD’s side and in NPD’s defense says that retail sales still make up an enormous part of the game industry:

“EA saying physical game sales don’t matter is like Best Buy saying television sales don’t matter.”

Regardless though, thanks to the ever rising trend of digital distribution, a lot of gamers, especially PC gamers, wouldn’t care for NPD’s numbers anyway.

CNN Money