It's something that's been in the works for five years, and the NPD Group has struck agreements with a number of publishers to track their digital data. Those include Activision, Capcom, Deep Silver, Electronic Arts, Square Enix, Take-Two Interactive and Warner Bros. Interactive. You'll notice some pretty big gaps there: Bethesda, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. NPD spokesperson Liam Callahan said that if the group waited for everyone to come on board, that the tracking wouldn't have ever launched. "If we waited to have every publisher in the world to sign up it would take forever," he told GamesIndustry.biz.
In addition digital full-game purchases, add-on packs and micro-transactions will be tracked as well, but those sales numbers won't be divulged to the press or public. And instead of separating the digital sales numbers from physical sales, they'll instead be combined -- much like the company doesn't break down game sales by system. Games that come from publishers who aren't disclosing digital sales data will be denoted as such.
Frankly, it's about time that the NPD did this. As digital sales
(especially with the current crop of consoles), the firm's reporting has been incredibly incomplete. With this, we're getting closer to actually knowing exactly how popular a particular month's games are in terms of sales.
Can you hear that? It's the sound of the NeoGAF crowd and comment sections cheering over more data to scrub through and lord over each other's heads come the third Thursday of every month.