People who follow the industry know about the NPD group and the flaws of its system including estimating and picking what it tracks. To clarify though, NPD is a group that tracks video game sales and publishes the numbers for a fairly high price. It’s the most accurate solution we have but with its downfalls. Some Major retailers like Wal-Mart do not track or provide the numbers sold to NPD which means they must “guess” at what was sold; they can’t just leave a large corporation like Wal-Mart out of the numbers. They also do not track downloadable services like XBLA or iTunes. Their numbers aren’t exact, but are supposed to show an estimated amount as to what was sold for the month reported.
“Using NPD data for video game sales is like measuring music sales and ignoring something called iTunes,” said EA corporate communications executive Tiffany Steckler. “We see NPD’s data as a misrepresentation of the entire industry.”
He has a good point as well, at least from a business perspective. To us gamers, we really only want or need to see an estimate so we can use this data to hurl insults at echother, but to some they need a more detailed report on how their product is selling. Their one big flaw is the fact that they do not track downloadable content, which is a growing market that somebody should be tracking better.