Effective October 14--the date the September NPD results are due--the NPD Group will remove monthly hardware unit sales figures from its monthly release. The retail evaluation will also remove unit sales figures from the "Top 5" selling titles for the month, opting to only list "Top 10 software at the title level."
The new, retail-only (Read: NPD Group does not report on digital distribution, game subscriptions, mobile games, rentals, used titles or social network games) sales tracking report will continue monthly releases; however, the group will also release a "total consumer spend report" on a quarterly basis.
According to a representative of the NPD Group, the change was made to "address the changing sales landscape as well as updates to NPD's corporate publishing policies." The change comes as quite a surprise, as the NPD Group was always a good indicator of the hardware sales landscape in the United States. The NPD Group states that it will "continue to support" companies that release "sales figures for their respective products."
We'll see how well this works out when every company announces they've outsold the competition in the hardware space until the NPD Group changes its mind or another unbiased third-party is willing to wrangle the real numbers from select retailers.
[Ed. Note: For clarification, the NPD Group will still be tracking hardware unit sales; however, they will not release numbers to the public.]