The inability for traditional game sales tracking methods to capture digital download revenue becomes increasingly problematic as that space forms an increasingly significant share of the industry. The UK's Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association and chart specialist GfK Chart-Track believe they can find a solution.
ELSPA says it'll partner with Chart-Track to form a group of digital download retailers and publishers that can help it produce data on UK digital download revenues -- "the intention being that once all parties are happy with the process of data collection and the output, a chart will be available through Chart-Track," the trade body says.
This project has been quietly underway for months, but only now has it developed enough of a data-gathering framework to confirm the forthcoming publication of a digital chart.
Already involved in the workgroup are companies including Ubisoft, THQ, Sega, NCsoft, Mastertronic, Kalypso Media, Midas Interactive and Square Enix, according to ELSPA -- which adds three other "major publishers" will announce their participation "imminently."
Moreover, ELSPA asserts that publishers will contribute sales of its games from third-party digital retailers, welcome news for the data's viability. The announcement noted that this would "allay fears that data from Steam would be missing from this chart" -- although only self-reported game sales from participating publishers will be listed on the chart.
"We formed this group specifically to deal with the supply of an official download chart, initially for the PC and initially for the UK," says ELSPA chairman Andy Payne. "We are really glad that ELSPA members have stepped up to the plate and we have a legal agreement with Chart-Track for them to do the heavy lifting as they have the experience and knowledge of the industry."
ELSPA doesn't have ownership over the chart, Payne points out, encouraging as many of the UK industry's companies as possible to join the workgroup and be part of its shaping process. This includes the UK's other major trade body, TIGA: "We in the process of reaching out to TIGA and their membership and hope to have more on that very soon," he says.
Says GfK Chart-Track managing director John Pinder: "We at Chart-Track are thrilled to have been invited to extend our remit for the packaged goods charts into the digital space. Working with ELSPA and their members makes total sense and we look forward to delivering a chart very soon."