Videogame journalists and the discerning public are out of luck as the market research firm NPD has quit releasing videogame sales info.
In case you didn't know, many of the sales numbers that we report to you guys come from the NPD group because many videogame publishers only announce such statistics when they have something to brag about. Over the last few months, NPD has scaled back its publicly released information, cutting its monthly release of sales data for the top ten bestselling games to only five. But now, NPD says that it will not release any information on hardware sales such as consoles and will only report a ranked list of the top ten bestsellers with no sales data at all.
NPD said that it will be up to the hardware manufacturers to release sales data on their own consoles. In addition, NPD will make clear that its top-sellers list is based on new game sales only and doesn't include any downloaded content, used or rental sales.
"The changes are being implemented in order to address the changing sales landscape as well as updates to NPD's corporate publishing policies," said Dave Riley, Executive Director of the NPD Group.
It's not clear exactly why NPD is changing its policy, but it's easy to imagine that videogame publishers and console manufacturers didn't like their dirty laundry, so to speak, being aired by a third party. Of course, if your game made the top of the list, it's probably something you want advertised anyway, but at least now the videogame industry has a tighter control over the flow of information.
To be honest, I'm not sure that's a good thing. I'd much rather live in a world where information was freely distributed. Waiting to hear how a game performed in the market from its publishers is usually an exercise in futility. It will be interesting to see if any sales information is disseminated from now on or we're left with guesses and hearsay.
Update: Here's an image of the revised monthly report from NPD.