OPINION: The digital debate

Once again the issue around calculating digital sales data towards the industry’s charts and research data has become a talking point.

Last week MCV discussed the suggestion that Blizzard’s Diablo III would have topped the charts if digital sales from Blizzard’s Battle.net store had been included in retail charts.

GfK Chart-Track shares the industry’s concerns about the current fragmentation of market sales when considering digital sales of packaged goods, and applauds UKIE’s commitment to bringing publishers/IP holders together in an attempt to address this issue. But this can never be a substitute for fast and integrated weekly reporting.


We are ready to include digital sales like those of Diablo III, but the ball is now firmly in the games industry’s court to recognise the need for measuring the complete market and supply their data.

We already have the technology to incorporate those sales seamlessly into the charts and the flexibility to report the sales in the format that the industry requires. For example, the chart number for Diablo III could be a mixture of digital and physical, with the split between the two only revealed to the publisher/developer/IP holder and the retailers that sold the product.

However, it would be wrong to single out one publisher/developer/IP holder – why should they take the plunge if their peers simply sit on the fence, keeping their own numbers internal?

So what we say to digital retailers is that if they have the capability of supplying data, then we are ready to accept it.

Only with a critical mass of digital retailers would we envisage including digital sales alongside packaged goods. In the meantime, all digital sales can be measured and reported back to each digital retailer with a guarantee of confidentiality, through various solutions including our online secure data warehouse. Many of the detailed market analysis reports that we currently produce for traditional retail are just as relevant for digital retailers, and we can tailor reports to specific requirements.


The current UK video games research project Chart-Track runs monitors sales through traditional retail channels for packaged goods, and over 35 different retail propositions including the High Street, the supermarkets and the internet. So the current sales charts are a measure for one part of the entire video game sales universe.

This project in the UK has been in existence for decades. And perhaps because of this, it is somewhat taken for granted that market intelligence of the packaged goods sector is so accurate, so meaningful and thereforeso useful.

But with the growth of the digital sector the games industry risks losing its best research and PR tool – a chart that paints a true and accurate picture of the overall video games market.

Digital retailers have the power to support thegames industry and the industry would welcome their involvement.

About MCV Staff

Check Also

Critical Path: July 2022 – Highlights for the month ahead!

Here are the key upcoming events and releases to mark in your calendar