NPD tells analysts to keep data from press

Market research firm continues clamping down on sales figures after clients, retailers complain about private info going public with "incorrect context."

Last October, the industry-tracking NPD Group stopped releasing unit-sales data for the best-selling US retail software and hardware each month. Despite that move, some sales data about specific games and systems still slipped out in the form of analysts' notes to investors, but now that leak has been plugged as well.

They count the games sold so you don't have to.

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter today notified media contacts that he would not be providing his NPD reaction notes to the press any longer at the tracking firm's behest. Another analyst told GameSpot he couldn't comment on the topic. Meanwhile, the NPD Group provided its own explanation for the move.

"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," the NPD said in a statement to GameSpot. "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. 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."

The NPD report with rankings for the March period is expected to be released in mid-April.

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Discussion

31 comments
PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

Well, hey, at least the bright side is we don't have to hear anymore random ass (misinformed) 'predictions' from Pachter. That in itself, is pure natural 'win' to me, lol.

thelegendlives5
thelegendlives5

I don't know what those idiots at NPD do exactly, they don't tell numbers and don't want anyone to tell. What the hell is the point of tracking numbers and making statistics if no one is gonna hear about it?

steelmouth
steelmouth

There is only one console that doesnt official release its sales numbers so I guess its save to assume they the one complaining about "incorrect context", lets face it selling more or less than your competitions is just that there is no context, yes the numbers may not be inaccurate but there is no "incorrect context", you sold less

Barabajagal
Barabajagal

You can bet, those sales figures would be touted from the highest mountain top if they were up! Someone is getting duped! On another note, who cares about Michael Pachter's analysis. He couldn't correctly guess which palm held the ball even if I held my palms open. What a maroot!

themyth01
themyth01

Sony probably complained their numbers were getting out heh

Tremblay343
Tremblay343

We're looking to work more closely with media outlets...but I don't think we're giving them our information anymore. Huh?

blackace
blackace

$#%& the NPD. They need to stop producing the data all together and close their doors. What's the sense of having the information if the public can't few it as well. So instead we get to few completely inaccurate data from places like VGChartz.com. Other groups who gather this information are going to still release their own findings whether NPD likes it or not. It's so dumb. I guess NPD forgot they people still write reviews, so if a game sucks and sails will still be affected. Doesn't matter what their data says.

acasero44
acasero44

Im pretty sure cataclysm didnt sell 5m as blizzard claims since it wasnt top ranked on vgachartz nor npd and only 2 out 7 people i know who play wow bought cataclysm Edit: Oh and yeah they also started counting pc games a year ago

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

The funny thing about sales is, they don't track returns and/or resells. A better way to gauge the momentum of the gaming community is www.raptr.com. It aggregates game usage via system IDs and charts the ebb and flow of a game's life.

Dualmask
Dualmask

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

In the information age, there are still those out there trying to squash the information sharing? Next we'll hear THQ trying to shut down Metacritic's sharing of critical reviews... right before they launch Homefront 2.

oneligas
oneligas

some body must of paid big money for the NPD to push the press into silence

Vari3ty
Vari3ty

What does it matter? No one gives a rat's *** about NPD anyway since they stopped posting monthly sales figures. A good game will sell by word of mouth - and certainly not by NPD's calculations.

NColdhardt
NColdhardt

As I've said (or at least thought!) in almost every NPD affiliated article, give us the numbers and I'll crunch them myself.

ralphikari
ralphikari

Now their client publishers can skew the picture to the public and investors with phrases like "relevant", "meaningful", "meeting target", "satisfactory" and "exceeding expectation" all they want when sales bombed.

jedicommand7
jedicommand7

So they want to hide the numbers until they can put the proper spin on it.

MuffintopX
MuffintopX

They are correct, the masses generally buy what other people are buying (Kinect), and see that less people are buying the others (Move), and subconsciously make decisions about what they should spend their money on.

xaos
xaos

Given the fact that possibly the largest retailer of games in the USA is omitted from their stats, I feel like their data is given too much weight anyway.

Barighm
Barighm

Darn. This data is very useful for determining, say, whether or not a smaller game with a multiplayer component has enough players or if an RPG/free-roaming action game has enough sales to eventually release a GOTY edition, thus allowing me to save my money for something with more value. Of course, there are a couple reasons why they would want to hide sales numbers.

RyanSaotome
RyanSaotome

NPD became irrelevant since they stopped posting numbers, anyway. What is the point of a sales ranking that doesn't show sales? Just use VGChartz. It might not be 100% accurate, but at least they have numbers. With NPD, you don't know if the #1 sold 500k or 100k.

MAILER_DAEMON
MAILER_DAEMON moderator

Why the crap won't they release sales numbers again? They can say that they're not "freezing out the media" all they want, but that's exactly what they're doing by withholding numbers and only releasing what the corrupt publishers are wanting people to see.

Razorbladez
Razorbladez

While the lack of transparency is somewhat disturbing. Anything that gets Michael Pachter to STFU is ok in my book......

TheArcade
TheArcade

NPD can shove it. Ceasing to report single hardware and software sales was the most ridiculous thing I ever heard.

daabulls23
daabulls23

If the NPD would release units, there would be no need for speculation and estimating numbers.

imaidiot
imaidiot

What is the point of having sales rankings without listing total sales numbers to go along with it. Don't they know that if a game is good that smart people will buy it, and if a game is bad that the numbers are not going to prevent an uniformed person from buying it? That is all this is, they think they can get extra sales if they don't release sales data. This would be like the movie box office not listing sales numbers, or music, or anything else. Bring back the numbers!

CureForLiving
CureForLiving

If I don't have hard numbers what am I suppose to base my fan-boyish ranting on? Anyway I really have no idea why they're doing this other than as atopp399 suggests they want to fudge with the numbers a bit.

atopp399
atopp399

Sounds like companies want to put a certain spin on their data before releasing it. Sort of like releasing sales figures to the public that are actually only units shipped to retailers, etc. to make the company look like it is doing better than it actually is.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Eliminating transparency is almost always a bad move. It sounds to me like NPD needed to do this in order to get more retail outlets to supply data. Where more data is good for better accuracy, less information released to the public is not. Will it be worth the trade-off?