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NPD plans to track digital sales this year

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The NPD Group will launch a point-of-sale tracking service for digital video game sales this year, NPD games group president David McQuillan told Games Industry International.

NPD is preparing the service "quickly" so it will be ready for use by the next-gen console launches this holiday. Since 2010, NPD has been tracking total consumer spending on both physical and digital in one combined group. The digital numbers include spending in multiple areas, including mobile and social games, full downloads, DLC and subscriptions across all platforms. NPD plans to clearly present data on digital sales in its own category moving forward.

"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," McQuillan said. "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. It is an important and critical step toward that goal."

Currently, NPD's games leader panel, the group heading the initiative, includes nine publishers. The group has not yet announced what publishers are participating. Data collection will initially focus on full games and add-on content downloaded to consoles, PCs and handhelds. All data will be collected globally. The digital sales data will eventually be fully integrated into the group's monthly reports.

"The plan is to have digital POS sales integrated into our U.S. new physical POS retail sales data to enable more efficient analysis for our clients. The timing of when that will happen has not been finalized," McQuillan said.