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Bethesda, Konami and Nintendo won’t play with new European digital charts

The new combined digital/physical chart from European trade body ISFE exits beta today reports Gamesindustry.biz. However, it will do so without three major publishers, with bethesda, Konami and Nintendo refusing to share their digital sales figures.

That said it’s a big step forward for an industry that has struggled to outwardly speak of its success in recent years, as physical sales moved to digital, leaving the current charts out-of-date for industry watchers – bar those concerned purely with physical retailer performance.

The UK won’t receive its own GSD (Games Sales Data) chart until January 2019, when the current arrangement with GfK ends. The new chart is managed by the ISFE with services provided by B2Boost.

GfK’s works has been hugely respected, but a pan-European setup makes far more sense, given that most publisher’s work across the region when it comes to their own digital sales – for example all EA sales in Europe are all accounted for together in Switzerland.

"If you were developing this from scratch, how would you do it? We now have one database. At the moment, Europe has one database per country. When you start with a clean slate, you can do something that is much closer to what people want and need," said ISFE managing director Simon Little, speaking to Gamesindustry.biz.

The list of companies that is onboard is impressive: Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Codemasters, EA, Focus, Koch Media, Microsoft, Milestone, Paradox, Sega, Sony, Square Enix, Take-Two, Ubisoft and Warner Bros.

The data will cover full-game downloads on both console and PC, with the data coming directly from the publishers themselves. ISFE reckons that puts them ahead of the US NPD data.

It’s somewhat disappointing that we reach this point just as the industry begins to fixate more on services, such as Xbox Game Pass, and of course on DLC and microtransactions. Though Little says their our ambitions beyond the current scope.

"Trying to expand it to free full-game downloads… that’s really a different thing altogether. And DLC is so expansive. It really is a totally separate project to try and cover DLC. And it is, in some ways, more sensitive for the companies involved. So we really needed to start here, get everyone’s trust, and then gradually look to expand the scope."

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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