Check any videogame industry sales reports and they’ll all tell you one very sobering thing; the entire industry is in on the verge of collapse because game hardware and software sales have steadily decreased year-on-year – but is that really true?
There’s one thing that all of the, fail to take in to account, and that is digital sales of games through online marketplaces like Steam, Xbox Live, PSN and hell, even Origin. The situation’s set to change, as the NPD – which tracks North American sales – will start including digital distribution in its reports. Unfortunately, it still wont paint a complete picture; only 9 providers have so far agreed to share data.
“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 NPDS’s , David McQuillan told GamesIndustry.biz. “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. Full market transparency, including digital is incredibly important to the health of the industry.”
Reporting will be done in partnership with EEDAR, and will focus on global digital sales, as opposed to the retail sales which only detail North American retails sales.
I’ll be glad to see a little more transparency from the gaming industry as a whole. We’re regularly told by publishers how games just aren’t meeting expectations, but they nearly always omit digital sales, which I’m sure account for a significant number of “copies” sold.
I suspect we might start seeing that the industry isn’t quite in the sorry state we’re always told it is. Software sales are probably just fine, and hardware sales are relatively low because people are waiting out the next generation.