Home Gaming The ESA says NPD sales figures are misleading

The ESA says NPD sales figures are misleading

1 min read


We’ve said before that retail sales numbers for video games, from the likes of GfK, NPD and Media create are largely worthless, and are increasingly becoming irrelevant – for anyone other than retailers and those who make a living selling physical copies of games.

They paint a poor picture of the video game industry, showing that software sales are on a perpetual decline, and that the industry in general is in poor health. What they don’t show in any way is the prevalence of digital distribution and how many copies of games were sold on storefronts like Steam, The PlayStation Store and the Xbox Store.

That’s very much in line with what Superdata keeps telling us, and now, the ESA’s had their say too. In a new statement, The Electronic Software Foundation has slammed the NPD.

“Scores of millions of consumers purchase innovative content in myriad ways, including subscription services, digital downloads, and via their mobile devices. Gone are the days when the industry’s growth and strength could be determined by retailers simply reporting packaged good sales.

Unfortunately, NPD’s revenue data yesterday continued to reinforce that traditional model at the expense of new areas where the industry is growing. Consumers, the creators and innovators of our industry, and the investment community deserve better. ESA will do its part by encouraging and motivating NPD to release the total consumer spend for 2015 that includes all aspects of this diverse industry.”

I know I’ve started buying fewer and fewer games at retail (unless they’re priced really, really well) and it largely comes down to convenience; I’m a lazy bugger, so I hate having to get up to change discs. If we could buy digital game cards locally for decent prices, and this still support the retail industry, I’d happily do that.

Have your own purchasing habits changed? Are you more likely to buy digitally – or do you still prefer buying physical copies of games, for their trade and resale value?

Last Updated: January 18, 2016

No Comments

  1. VampyreSquirrel

    January 18, 2016 at 10:37

    I used to only buy physical copies of games… now I buy select games as physical copies, everything else is digital.


  2. RinceThis

    January 18, 2016 at 10:54

    I have to say, I’ve seen a major shift in attitudes. I never bought anything unless I could rage snap the disk in half. Now I honestly don’t care if it’s a digital copy. Even OvG, who’s a mental old git who is stuck in his ways, has started buying digital copies. Times are a changing!


    • Hammersteyn

      January 18, 2016 at 11:06

      Same here.


    • Ir0nseraph

      January 18, 2016 at 11:22

      I have very few Disk based games left, my collection is 90 Digital at the moment , I have 4 disk based games left , and 90 of my Digital collection was bought on special.

      I just enjoy digital at the moment, it’s easier and I don’t need to put it in cupboard some were as currently my wife shares the TV room with me.


    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      January 18, 2016 at 13:16

      🙁 No… not OVG 🙁 So I’m still the only old git who prefers disks. 🙁


  3. Original Heretic

    January 18, 2016 at 11:02

    Digital is so much easier. Yeah, it’s great to have a cabinet full of titles, but that’s minor ego thing only.


    • RinceThis

      January 18, 2016 at 11:03

      Agreed. I mean I have a stack of 360 games, now they’re just in the way…


  4. Loftus

    January 18, 2016 at 11:23

    Till Helkom brings adsl to my neck of the woods ( bastards keep steeling the copper lines) i am stuck in the dark old days of only playing on physical copy.


    • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

      January 18, 2016 at 11:39

      At least I share your sentiment, My little Cellc contract has done wonders in past, but when the games start clocking in at 20+ Gigs, I tend to leave them in their digital dispensary until I run out of patience and just add an extra 10 Gigs or whatnot…


    • BakedBagel

      January 18, 2016 at 11:39

      Telkom’s new LTE network is a god-send to people who have troubles with standard copper lines. Not every area has LTE coverage, but its a huge area.


      • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

        January 18, 2016 at 11:39

        How much is it now for a package? And how stable is it?


        • BakedBagel

          January 18, 2016 at 11:45

          Well i dont know, i dont work for telkom but let me do some quick googling

          First off its a wireless package. Its uncapped( certain data is available at certain times etc.)

          Im not too clued up on the exacts of this service.
          My mate just recently got this package. So id advise doing your own digging into Stability etc.



          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            January 18, 2016 at 11:50

            Thanks Man!! Did some digging too, the Telkom site is still loading…

          • BakedBagel

            January 18, 2016 at 11:50

            HAHAHAHA typical shiet. They having bad server errors atm 503 etc.

            But yeah check the coverage map hopefully your area is covered.

            Mine is not covered :c

          • Geoffrey Tim

            January 18, 2016 at 13:01

            My area isn;t covered either – but I’m doing some testing with a friend;s unit – and it works like a bomb. getting 30-40mb/s downloads. 7mb/s uploads.

          • BakedBagel

            January 18, 2016 at 13:05

            It really is impressive. Ill give telkom that much, their mobile network is legit.

            But then again, does weather effect speeds? How much do you get throttled for limiting your “un-capped” Just gonna have to wait and see

  5. Jonah Cash

    January 18, 2016 at 11:34

    I buy games digital if their download size is less than 25gigs. Otherwise I pay the extra R150 at retail and trade it in for that when I am done. So same price, less hassle and way less bandwidth consumed 🙂


  6. BakedBagel

    January 18, 2016 at 11:39

    The only reason i would buy ANY physical copy of a game is for the free shit that comes with the box.



  7. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    January 18, 2016 at 13:15

    They make a valid point! How many million digital xbones have been sold over the last few years and thus under-tracked by the dastardly and evil NPD? For all we know, digital xbone sales could be well over 9000!!!


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