We sat with David Riley of the NPD group before, and he’s decided to join us
yet again as part of the grand opening of our website to field some more
questions. There’s a lot of ground that’s yet to be covered and I hope to
leave out nothing this time. So here goes.
David, thanks for gracing us with your presence again, I know it’s a busy
time for you and basically everyone this time of year, yet you’ve made room
to join us. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
DAVID: Thank you. Happy New Year to you, too.
Let’s get this question out of the way first since it’s been a point of
heated discussion among some gamers. Given your long history of gathering
hardware and software sales data in the videogames industry, do you think
the PS3 will overtake the Xbox 360 in hardware sales before the seventh
generation of consoles is out?
DAVID: As much as I’d like to address this question, we don’t predict or forecast at the item level. How’s that for dancing around the subject?
The media uses NPD as the standard on gauging how the three consoles are
doing in the sales department, since you account for U.S. sales data only,
do you think it’s wise that this perception holds?
DAVID: NPD’s best known for its work in the U.S., but we also track vg sales in Canada, Australia, and a few other markets. Our global partners, GfK Chart-Track and Enterbrain allow all of us to provide the industry with the most comprehensive look at worldwide game sales in our respective markets, but we are all for-profit organizations, so to release too much of this information to non-subscribers would be counter-productive. In terms of media relationships, there are various reasons why we only publicize the U.S. I’ll provide two here: 1) our global partnerships don’t allow for us to simply release combined global sales numbers into the public domain; 2) The U.S. is by far the largest sales market for video games, and the market that generates the most interest.
As you know, in order for any industry to grow including gaming, there must
be innovations, are developers and publishers making all the right moves to
keep growth constant? And if not, what’s your advice?
DAVID: My biggest concern is with publishers and developers placing too much faith, money and manpower into fledgling enterprises that have little to no history of producing revenues on the level needed to sustain their businesses.
2008 was the best year ever for the industry in terms of growth and record
breaking sales, can we surpass that in the future?
DAVID: Of course we can.
You said in our first interview that although NPD doesn’t account for
Walmart sales, “thanks to historical sales references, and NPD’s 40-yr track
record, it is able to reliable estimate for that massive retailer within an
extremely reasonable margin of error.” Thing is David, nothing stays the
same, especially last year when the industry suffered significant setbacks
because of the recession, how can you be sure that your estimates are
accurate in such a volatile environment?
DAVID: I don’t want to provide too much insight into our methodology, but what I can tell you is that we have a proven track record within the industry when it comes to estimating sales for this important retailer. The formula for success isn’t static. It changes based on what’s happening in the public at any given moment (e.g., state of economy, population growth, uptick in number of gamers, etc., etc.). We have hundreds of associates responsible for making sure our estimates are as accurate as possible.
So are the Walmart sales estimates included in your monthly hardware and
software sales data? Because if not, although the console makers and
publishers obviously know, the public is left in the dark.
DAVID: Yes. 100%.
Again, you’ve been in this business long enough to not only track sales
trends but also when new consoles will be released right? Any guesses on
when the next set of consoles will be released? Heard anything about the
DAVID: Again, we do not make predictions for public release, nor do we disclose any insight provided to us from our partners.
What’s new with NPD in 2010?
DAVID: There’s a lot in the pipeline, both internally as well as with our business partners. I’m unable to provide anymore insight at this time.
Thanks much David, Enjoy the New Year.
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