And today publishers and developers are now pushing for a chart that counts sales of downloaded games for PC plus consoles and mobile.
Establishing such a list won’t just prove how the attitude towards digital distribution has done a U-turn, or that consumer spending on games is high despite dips on both sides of the Atlantic. It will help move the conversation beyond to talk about what happens next.
Questions such as what the real interplay between digital and physical is might finally get a decent answer. And given the fact that downloadable content is now being repackaged for release on ‘traditional’ retail discs, the answer might just surprise some.
...THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME
But maybe there’s an ironic twist in the tale behind the digital distribution chart.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, after years of being treated like the industry’s hidden threat, or its leper half-cousin, digital distributors still need some winning over that all their lovely data be shared.
At least from what MCV can tell. It sounds like one or two US-based services – and maybe even the format holders – are now holding out on playing ball, reluctant to give away the details.
They’re either worried that the charts will show just how powerful they have become – or, worse, that their impact isn’t the crater-sized dent some always predicated.
But no one is in disagreement that digital distribution is a proven, vital and important part of the games market now.
Here’s hoping some arrogant desire to control that information doesn’t cause that unnecessary ‘them and us’ divide to resurface.