NPD: Why should publishers report digital sales? *spawn*

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by Rangers, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. Rangers

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    Interesting note...

    This will have the effect of pushing Sony exclusive titles down the charts, pressuring them to allow NPD access to their digital sales.

    That was NPD's dastardly plan all along, but it's showing some fruit here.

    Edit: although some neogaf fanboys would probably be happier with "Game X sold huge digitally, obviously! and you cant disprove it!"

    And LOL, there is only 6 Switch games I guess? Switch has a top 6 instead of top 10.

    BTW I guess the top 20 is NPD, who now have two NPD executives posting regularly in Neogaf sales threads, feeling the pressure to give out more data. However one of them stated they contractually cannot give out sales without publisher permission. I'm guessing hardware used to be somewhat of an exception.
     
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  2. DSoup

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    Can you explain why Sony should care, let alone feel pressured? They know what sales are as do publishers.
     
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  3. Rangers

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    Because their games will appear to sell less compared to competitors than they actually do.

    This goes for any publisher that opts out of giving NPD their digital data.

    Hypothetically, imagine one year COd doesn't give digital and BF does, And suddenly shock, BF outranks COD on the charts. It would be a big deal, even if sophisticated watchers would know the probable reason.
     
  4. Silent_Buddha

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    The thing is, as DSoup was saying, why does it matter? Or why should publishers care? The publisher already has access to the information about their own titles and generally don't want their competitors to have access to that information.

    The only place where it matters is on gaming forums. And it only matters to either people that like numbers, or fans of a particular platform or game.

    Unless that either positively or negatively impacts a publisher, they won't care.

    Numbers are obviously something that can negatively affect a publisher. It shows just how well or more importantly, how badly a title is doing in sales. That potentially directly impacts the publics view of said title and thereby said publisher, potentially reducing confidence in said publisher.

    Pure rankings don't really affect things if you don't have numbers to give the rankings some relevance. IE - did a title that ranked 10th on the list sell 5000 copies, 50,000 copies, or 500,000 copies?

    Basically publishers care more about not having their numbers revealed than they do about where they potentially rank. You'll notice that while companies will quite often release PR statements about how many copies a title sold if it did well, or whether it broke record sales, they rarely ever refer to NPD rankings of a title even if it ranked #1.

    So, unless 1st party PS4 titles start to drop massively and it can somehow be linked to NPD rankings, Sony won't care.

    MS allowing NPD access to those numbers is basically a move to generate more goodwill for the company. Something that they feel is warranted considering the position they are in. Sony has no need to do anything similar considering the position they are in.

    It's the same as Blizzard not releasing numbers while Activision does. Yet another example of why I wonder why Activision and Blizzard maintain their partnership as Blizzard remains entirely autonomous from and has virtually no dealings with the rest of Activision-Blizzard. Anyway, Blizzard doesn't release digital sales numbers because they don't wan the competition to know how many sales they generate and there is no benefit to them of doing so. They are going to sell a LOT of titles regardless. Activision OTOH, has a rather rocky public image. So there's a benefit for them to try to maintain a high ranking.

    So to put things succinctly.
    • Want to potentially increase your public image or bolster your image as a successful publisher? Allow NPD access to digital sales numbers.
    • Have no need of increasing or bolstering your public image as a successful publisher? Keep it to yourself and keep a slight advantage over your competition. Only announce numbers for any given title strategically in carefully crafted PR statements.
    Regards,
    SB
     
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  5. dobwal

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    Publishers do care. Why do you think every time a game does well, publishers will gladly give out sales data? High numbers have marketing value.

    But I can understand why Sony or any other pub might have reservation about publishing that data. DD is growing and those number are probably alarming to B&M retailers who are still very important partners to platform owners.
     
  6. DSoup

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    Publishers get data directly, they don't need NPD. NPD is for wider industry like analysts or for others to draw comparisons. The people involved in products have the sales data. They have complete and accurate sales data which NPD is not.
     
  7. Rangers

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    Did we even get whether XBO or PS4 took 2nd?

    Oy this is terrible. Last month was the first month ever we got no hard results that I know of (just winner of GAF prediction contest). This makes two months and they haven't said the winner of the prediction contest yet either.
     
  8. dobwal

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    Pubs get their own data directly but NPD sheds lights on the sales of other pubs and the market overall. The snapshot of the overall US gaming market that NPD provides is valuable to pubs. As DD becomes more relevant the less informative NPD becomes if DD remains spotty across pubs.

    If Sony doesn't have a problem with NPD publishing its physical sales then why are its digital sales a problem? I'd bet B&M retailers subscribe to NPD to help track the overall market and I'd bet Sony nor MS are keen are providing DD data as they as owners of their platforms' digital marketplace are in direct competition with their partners.

    I wouldn't be surprised if MS and Sony provided digital sales data of their stores to the biggest pubs in an effort to give a better overall view of the market to those pubs. But serving as a workaround to avoid allowing that data to fall into hands of B&M retailers.
     
    #8 dobwal, Apr 22, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
  9. Silent_Buddha

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    Yes, I already addressed that. The publishers that do not feel the need to give NPD access to internal sales numbers will only release numbers in carefully crafted PR statements when they are especially noteworthy. They have absolutely zero interest or need to give NPD access to sales numbers because it would not help them in the slightest.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  10. Silent_Buddha

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    They don't, however, have access to competitors digital sales data as they go through NPD (or related sales trackers) for data on their competitors.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #10 Silent_Buddha, Apr 22, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
  11. Silent_Buddha

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    Sony doesn't have a choice in the matter as NPD also gathers data from retailers which they don't have control over. Same as Blizzard. They do have complete control over their digital sales, however, and do not provide those to anyone outside of the company other than in select PR releases or in some cases as a conglomerated (not per title) number in SEC filings.

    Hence why sales numbers from NPD are generally estimates, and not absolute numbers.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  12. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    So, why should Sony care? I don't understand why Sony should feel pressured? This is an argument for improving NPD's data and that's not Sony's responsibility.
     
  13. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Publisher's must have accurate sales data to report financials, where figures are heavily regulation. It's a federal crime for a US company to misreport financial data and those reports will invariably include sales numbers, profits and margins. Unless you're Microsoft.
     
  14. Silent_Buddha

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    Yes, but they don't provide sales data per title. And often don't distinguish between types of sales. Some publishers just give one sales number that includes, physical, digital, subscriptions, DLC, etc. without breaking them down. Some publishers actually do break them down. They'll usually break them down if they want to show investors why they are pursuing a specific strategy (for example, increased focus on digital or subscription services).

    The only time anyone outside of a company see's breakdowns per title is if they are getting audited or if they want to use a snapshot of sales for a PR statement. And even then the numbers won't be made public from being audited. This is assuming the company doesn't want to divulge those numbers.

    Obviously with the disclosure of digital numbers, some publishers are providing numbers to NPD.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  15. Shifty Geezer

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    People seem to be talking about caring about two different things. There's caring about decent sales data (which pubs want) and caring whether NPD releases download info or not (pubs have that data).

    As a pub, it's probably nice to see how the other pubs are selling, which is useful from NPD. However, there's no pressure there for Sony to release download numbers to NPD, unless the data gets stupidly skewed and the charts position all XB1 titles above PS4 titles thanks to disc+download sales versus disc-only sales. Without Sony's numbers, pubs can still see XB1 download numbers and get meaningful relative metrics. Coupled with comparing their XB1 downloads with their own PSN downloads data, they'll have a little insight into both platforms.
     
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  16. dobwal

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    As a pub Sony probably cares because the NPD top ten list mostly serves as a marketing tool. The higher up the list the more successful a title is considered especially now since no actual unit sold numbers are provided. But the list gets disseminated just about every where. Including here, where it generates discussion and can have a positive or negative effect on how we view the success or lack of success of a title.

    Imagine if Horizon wasn't on the list and how that would affect the discussion here. Now imagine if Horizon was first on the list and how different that discussion would be in comparison to the first proposition. To put it another way, do you think that the titles that do include DD do so because they simply want to provide more comprehensive sales data or to possibly affect their rankings on lists such as the NPD top ten?

    However, as a platform owner and thereby owner of the biggest digital marketplace for the PS4, the pressure is probably to avoid publishing DD numbers because as I stated before DD numbers and their growth would probably alarm B&Ms much more then they are now especially if NPD were throwing those numbers in their face every month.

    Even now, EA and others won't break out console from PC sales when its comes to full game downloads or DLC. There is a concerted effort to skew the data regarding digital distribution on consoles and Sony lack of DD on NPD is just another example.
     
    #16 dobwal, Apr 22, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
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  17. DSoup

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    Why do you think Sony are invested in one title being more successful over another? If GTA V outsells WATCH DOGS 2 how does that impact Sony? I'm sure it's nice for Sony Worldwide Studios if Horizon is selling more than COD but Sony are interested in the larger platform.

    I don't follow this at all and would like to see evidence. Forums are small pockets of the vocal minority and in the landscape of 120+ million gamers even massive communities like GAF are an insignificant rounding error. People on GAF (and B3D) who think they influence the gaming industry really need to get over themselves :yep2: Communities like these are useful only to gauge the mood of that particular vocal minority, the majority of gamers are too casual/busy/disinterested to be engaging in communities. That's why the really active members here can be measured in the dozens. DOZENS! :runaway:
     
  18. AzBat

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    I think you put too little value on the online gaming communities. Ask Microsoft what they learned in 2013. Sony better keep it's hubris in check or they will repeat Microsoft's mistake.

    Tommy McClain
     
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  19. Jay

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    makes a change ms giving out any kind of sales numbers.
    wonder if they want to show games are selling better than it seems, or maybe to push benefits of xbuy etc.
    otherwise, i see little reason for it.

    the charts were already skewed with all the asterisks saying not including digital, so i don't see why this would pressure Sony into anything.
    if Sony decides to share, I'm sure they will have their own reasons above and beyond ms doing it.
    People will just except Sony is doing well due to market share anyway, not the case for Ms.
     
  20. bunge

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    NPD will probably break out the data so people will simply guesstimate Sony's online sales based on ratios.
     
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