NPD Group announced that it plans to start covering digital sales better than it has in the past. According to a GII report, the research firm already has the cooperation of nine game publishers.
David McQuillan, president of the Games group at NPD, recently spoke to GamesIndustry International about the progress that has been made in setting up the system for a digital POS tracking service. While NPD hopes to launch the service soon, there's still a bit of work to do.
"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. 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 said.
McQuillan added that the focus of the new digital tracking system will be on full-game downloads and downloadable content for consoles, PCs and portables. He would not disclose who is participating in the system though.
"We aren't at liberty to say who is participating at this time, since we are in the beta (proof of concept) stage," McQuillan noted.
This new tracking service will be in partnership with research firm EEDAR and will be completely global, unlike its retail data.
NPD says that digital tracking will be fully integrated into its monthly reports eventually.
"The plan is to have digital POS sales integrated into our US new physical POS retail sales data to enable more efficient analysis for our clients. The timing of when that will happen has not been finalized," McQuillan said.
Of course there are a lot of questions that need to be answered including just who is participating in this new tracking system. Without Apple, Google, and Steam, it will be highly unlikely that NPD will ever be able to provide an accurate picture of digital sales.
We will have more on this story as it develops.
Thanks to Andrew Eisen for the tip.