Digital game sales data just got a little less opaque | Tech Industry

(credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

Longtime readers may recall that we used to pay close attention to the monthly drops of US game and console sales information provided by the industry analysts at the NPD Group. We’ve stopped covering those reports as closely in recent years for a couple of reasons. The first is that NPD has taken steps to drastically limit the amount of information that it provides to the public, making these monthly reports less and less useful.

The more important reason, though, is that NPD data only includes estimates of retail packaged game sales. In a gaming world that’s dominated more and more by revenue from digital downloads, the retail-only NPD reports have become misleading at best and useless at worst.

Today, NPD announced an important step toward improving its data. Starting with its June report (to be released on July 21), NPD data will include digital sales reported directly from some of the industry’s biggest publishers. Activision Blizzard, Capcom, Deep Silver Electronic Arts, Square Enix, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros. Interactive will now tell NPD how many games it’s selling on Xbox Live, PSN, and Steam every month. [Update: An earlier version of this story had a slightly outdated list of participating companies. Ars regrets the error]

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