Acknowledging that its coverage of only "new physical sales of hardware, software and accessories" did not form an accurate representation of the industry's consumer spending, the NPD decided to change its strategy. As a result, NPD's "old" reporting practices, according to Frazier, had caused some "unnecessary angst" for some industry followers [via Gamasutra].
The issue is that digital distribution is on the rise and the NPD is not in a place to track that kind of data. For example, the top accessories every month are usually Microsoft and Sony digital platform money cards. Although the NPD can see that money is going into the digital market, it does not have the ability to see how or where it is spent.
In response, the NPD will release a new report which tracks "used games, rentals, mobile apps, social network games, and digitally acquired content in the U.S.," along with the sale of new games, accessories, and hardware. While many are frustrated by the change of the NPD's monthly release, we're hoping its new report--Games Industry: Total Consumer Spend--will better layout the structure of spending throughout multiple avenues throughout the United States.
Then when you tell your friend their console of choice sucks, you'll have additional data to back up your claims.