For those who want to argue sales numbers, the NPD's data is always crucial to the discussion.
But the debaters are going to have to do without, at least in regards to hard facts. It has been revealed that the NPD Group will change the way they share industry sales information with the consuming public. Firstly, while we'll still be told how well hardware is selling in relation to other hardware, we won't receive actual sales numbers. Secondly, we won't get any actual numbers for software sales, either, although we'll still get a monthly top 10. Here's the rundown:
— Removal of monthly hardware unit sales figures
— A shift in the Top 10 software from sku level with unit sales for the Top 5, to Top 10 software at the title level with no unit sales
— Revised footnote explaining that the monthly retail data reflects new physical purchases, not total consumer spend (digital, subscriptions, mobile games, rentals, used or social network games). The NPD Group will release a total consumer spend report to press on a quarterly basis
— Monthly analysis from NPD industry analyst, Anita Frazier, will include software sales figures at both the sku and title level for various new releases
We have to remember that the numbers have always been viewed as a promotional tool for the NPD and if it isn't much of an advantage, it's going to disappear. In the end, journalists and gamers should still have everything they need to get a bird's eye view of the industry landscape and as a bonus, the console wars won't receive quite as much fuel. It may not sound like a fun change – and it basically isn't – but we understand the reasons behind it.