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Is there anything GOOD about sales data availability? [roundtable]
So NPD has been limiting the video game sales data they release for the last couple of years. Publishers still release limited data in their press releases (if there's anything positive to mention), but we don't get specific sales data anymore, like we did in the previous period.

Previously to THAT, however, sales data was never really available to the consumer at all. The schoolyard Sega/Nintendo fights were more about quality/loyalty/blast processing/Sports Games/Aladdin/Mortal Kombat. Not quite pure debate, but at least minimizing someone's opinion due to populism didn't really happen.

Y'know, unless there was a TurboGrafx kid around. One of the rare ways that Sega kids and Nintendo kids could bond was by picking on TurboGrafx kids. Ah, memories...

ANYWAY, I admit that sales data is luridly interesting, like a police blotter. But does it really make the gaming scene better in any way to know that good games flop, pandering games sell, and console X is trouncing console Y? Is it valuable for a gamer to know which horse to bet on? Or sneer at underperforming titles? Or does sales data availability just widen the gulf between the haves and have-nots?

More to the point, do you guys follow this stuff at all?

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Posted: 11/08/14, 15:07:58  - Edited by 
 on: 11/08/14, 16:00:26
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I used to follow it like a cult. I mean, borderline obsession. I would sit at the computer on Thursdays waiting for the data to come out. But that was entirely for fanboy reasons, and trolling purposes. Ah, the IGN days. I don't miss them.

Now though, you're right. They don't really add anything to anything. They probably still excited the fanboys and trolls, but they're rather meaningless otherwise to the masses. Same, to me, with video game reviews, actually. Thanks to demos mostly I find reviews to be rather pointless anymore. Especially since things I don't enjoy get some pretty high reviews, while things I love seem to either get mediocre reviews, or not reviewed at all!

At least we have the memories. :)
Posted: 11/08/14, 15:56:59
Yeah, I agree that being able to demo a game totally negates any need to read other people's reviews. However, I think most snake oil peddlers have wised up and realized that they can peddle more snake oil if they DON'T give people a taste first.

I also have a similar disconnect to "AAA" reviews. Most of that stuff leaves me completely cold by focusing on presentation and spectacle over emergence and continually evolving gameplay mechanics.

In conclusion, try Spelunky! (It has a demo.)
Posted: 11/08/14, 16:07:47  - Edited by 
 on: 11/08/14, 16:08:09
I find them interesting and honestly see no reason for them not to be available.
Posted: 11/09/14, 09:45:58
I think it can be valuable to know which horse to bet on, so to speak. If I were trying to decide between two consoles that practically look the exact damn same like Sony's and Microsoft's, but one was trouncing the other, it would be nice to know that. Potentially 3rd party support and all.
Posted: 11/09/14, 10:03:13
Well, it's not like they're naturally occuring figures. The collection of these statistics is a commercial service. It's almost kind of weird that NPD let them be leaked for so long.

What an anti-Nintendo stance! I agree that overall hardware numbers can be useful for the consumer, but I dunno about how essential the play-by-play is. And are software numbers actually useful?

I honestly feel like they lead to even less discussion of the actual merits of games among the gaming community. Like all of the resolution/fps horseshit. Not that it's meaningless, but what is there to discuss? It's just data.
Posted: 11/09/14, 16:48:46
It's probably a net-loss to the gaming community to have them floating around because, frankly, they're mostly used to attack people who like a different product.

That said, I've been in the market for a Sony/Microsoft console for awhile now and I can't decide which one to get because, while I think I'm more likely to enjoy the One in the short term, I'm not sure if the sales figures are healthy enough to justify locking myself out of the future if it really is going to be dominated by the PS4. So I'm just not going to buy either until I have a clear idea of which is going to be better for me longterm. Some data would probably help.

Or that just shows how badly I don't need a new console.

Think I'll spend the afternoon playing Milon's Secret Castle. To hell with new video games.
Posted: 11/09/14, 18:22:13

How many games do you need to want to play in order to justify a new console? I'm not sure whether that kind of thing can be quantified, though, since quality may be more important than quantity.
Posted: 11/11/14, 03:45:16
@Anand Well Nintendo is obviously a must buy because of 1st party stuff. Was thinking more of the other two which depend on 3rd party support more.
Posted: 11/11/14, 04:08:20
Are sales differentials going to make any difference for PS4 and XB1? I don't follow their lineups much, but it doesn't seem like there's a lot of exclusives coming out for either one. And last generation 360's big early lead didn't seem to do much of anything at all.
Posted: 11/11/14, 04:17:02
That's true. Even if MS gets outsold 3:1, they would somehow ensure continuous multi-platform support, whether by incentives or ease of porting or whatever.

I guess it might be a factor when it comes to online userbases for games, but PS4 online is no longer free, and, from what I hear, Xbox Live still has the edge.
Posted: 11/11/14, 04:20:56
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