NPD to Track Online Game Subscriptions

By Chris Faylor, Feb 11, 2008 8:01pm PST The sales-tracking NPD Group will soon begin reporting on game-related subscriptions in North America, the firm announced today.

Issued quarterly, the Video Game & PC Game Subscriptions Report will be based on data collected from over 3 million survey participants aged 13 and older. Among other details, it will chart the market size and title shares of subscription-based massively multiplayer games, sites, and services such as Xbox Live.

At present, it is unknown what portion, if any, of the Video Game & PC Subscriptions Report will be released to the public. Though NPD releases some of its collected data to the public--mostly in the form of monthly console sales, top-ten software lists, and year-end industry reviews--the bulk of its information is reserved for paying clients.

While NPD has yet to begin tracking digital distribution, today's news marks the beginning of its attempts to better understand the changing PC gaming market.

After retail sales of PC software accounted for a mere 14% of the overall games industry in 2007, an NPD representative claimed that, based on total play time, the PC market wasn't shrinking, but simply shifting towards digital distribution and game subscriptions. However, the firm was unable to further quantify those statements as it did not track such details at the time.

"These products are an important step towards NPD's ultimate goal of providing a truly complete view of the North American PC game and video game markets, including all of the different ways consumers pay for and play video games, PC games, and related products," said NPD VP Martin Zagorsek.

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