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NPD Requests Analysts To Rein In Publicly-Released Game Sales Data
NPD Requests Analysts To Rein In Publicly-Released Game Sales Data
March 28, 2011 | By Kris Graft

March 28, 2011 | By Kris Graft
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    14 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Research firm NPD Group requested that game industry analysts no longer release U.S. video game sales data to the media, the latest move by the company to restrict distribution of its proprietary data.

"NPD would appreciate it if you and your teams refrain from providing any of our Games data directly to the media," read an email from NPD executive director of client development Daniel De Pinho in a Friday email to industry analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush.

"This includes live discussions, e-mails, and/or notes. In some cases, you may have to remove the media from your distribution list," De Pinho added. "Should the media take issue with this, you can feel free to send them my contact information, and I can connect them with the appropriate NPD representative."

In October last year, Port Washington, NY-based NPD announced it would no longer list monthly hardware unit sales figures for the media, and it that it would also restrict the information given for monthly software sales.

Pachter, who would sometimes release unit sales data not included in NPD's official monthly report, said he would comply with NPD's request.

This latest move means that sales data for U.S. video game retail is becoming further clouded -- sales information will now primarily come from game companies themselves that wish to release their NPD-gathered sales data.

NPD charges clients in the video game industry for their research services. By reining in public information, the company is protecting its business model and the privacy of its paying clients.

The firm will continue to release to the media monthly dollar figures and sales rankings for the video game industry. The policy emphasized today is apparently geared primarily towards unit sales figures of hardware and software.

[UPDATE: Contacted by Gamasutra, NPD Group said that the organization is not trying to "freeze out the media" by taking control of the monthly data.

The company explained its stance in an emailed statement: "We have heard from our clients and retail partners that NPD information is increasingly out in the public domain without proper attribution, incorrect context and in other ways that is not in the best interest of our clients or the industry. It is our responsibility and right to manage the usage of that information, and our Financial Services clients have agreed to help us and the industry in this regard."

The statement added, "There was no 'warning' issued at all. We are not freezing out the media as it has been portrayed. Instead, we are looking to work even more directly with the media than we already do to ensure our information and insights are used responsibly."]


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Comments


E Zachary Knight
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Well, so much for useful information. So The NPD is pretty much worthless except for general estimates on game sales. Glad to hear.

Bryan Wagstaff
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I don't see it as the end of useful information. Instead, I translate this as: "Stop giving the numbers to the media FOR FREE. Require them to pay for it."

Prash Nelson-Smythe
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Are the media given the option to pay though? If, say, IGN buys and publishes the data then everyone else gets it for free. It seems more like they want to keep it secret, which is the only way it would be valuable.

Matt Matthews
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I believe that IGN does get the full report. They are under the same licensing restrictions, however, and can't simply publish data as they choose.

Paul Lazenby
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THeatrical, television, and even the music industry have no problem providing accurate weekly reports on the top properties.

It is utterly ridiculous that the NPD wants to hold figures hostage.

Instead, why not provide your numbers to the public directly - this isn't going to preclude publishers and others from purchasing the more in-depth data that they (the user) requires to make proper marketing and production decisions.

Mark Morrison
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NPD must be really hurting for game client money!

Joe McGinn
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I think so. They were once the data leader but (as EA pointed out last week) are *years* behind the curve with online incoming for gaming. Becoming more obsolete by the month, I guess it's easier to desperately squeeze onto that "precious" data you have than to recover from such laziness and provide data with value it's worth paying for.



As a developer I would gladly pay for NDP data - if it wasn't so hopelessly rooted in a retail mindset.

Mike Lopez
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NPD: Struggling to stay relevant since 2005.

M C
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At least everyone didn't assume the worst until NPD was allowed to clarify o_0



Ahh internet people how I love your knee jerk hatred of pretty much everything.

Russell Carroll
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...trying to figure out how the media using NPD data "out of context" is hurting retailers like Wal-Mart and Target.

Or better yet, how do you take monthly sales numbers "out of context" at all!?



Do you call them yearly sales numbers?



The clarification statement from NPD seems lacking to me.

Ian Uniacke
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"The company explained its stance in an emailed statement: "We have heard from our clients and retail partners that NPD information is increasingly out in the public domain without proper attribution, incorrect context and in other ways that is not in the best interest of our clients or the industry. It is our responsibility and right to manage the usage of that information, and our Financial Services clients have agreed to help us and the industry in this regard.""



In other words, Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo had a poo poo because sales weren't as high as they were hoping, and threatened to sue.

M. Smith
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Hit the nail on the head.



It's not secret the industry has hit major speedbumps over the last few years. When the recession first hit, everything seemed fine, and there was no end to analyst explanations about how the video game industry was "recession-proof."



Then the shit hit the fan, and since then there's been more back-pedaling then a clown on a unicycle.



I guarantee that once the industry starts doing well again, this will be reversed, and sales data will be given out freely once more.

Joe McGinn
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>> ... NPD data released by the press is incomplete because the NPD, as a business, doesn't allow complete data to be circulated for free. <<

NPD data itself is incomplete because NDP has been screwing the pooch for five years when they should have been modernizing their data collection systems to account for online transactions.

A W
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Are the clients of NPD making money off of releasing sales data they buy from NPD?


none
 
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