group (National Purchase Diary) releases sales figures for the gaming industry, as well as just about every other major consumer market. The group recently changed its reporting practices to only show the top 10 games physically sold; they left out the unit counts and any digitally moved goods.

EA's Coporate Communications Executive Tiffany Steckler told CNN Money that the reports by NPD are misleading and bordering irrelevance. She even tossed out an analogy.

Using NPD data for video game sales is like measuring music sales and ignoring something called iTunes…We see NPD's data as a misrepresentation of the entire industry.

Steckler does have reason to claim that NPD's data is a misrepresentation of the gaming industry; the reports lack digital sales information, and EA saw a 39% growth in that arena last year.

While EA may discount the findings of the NPD, other industry personalities sit on the opposite side of the spectrum. Famous, or notorious, industry analyst Michael Pachter offered CNN Money a statement regarding EA's opinion of the NPD. He saw EA's analogy and raised them one of his own.

EA saying physical game sales don't matter is like Best Buy saying television sales don't matter…

Slam dunk from Pach-town.

Aside from the brief, awesome nature of Pachter's statement, the analyst is a basically of a gross mismatch. EA was not saying that physical sales data doesn't matter. The company was simply stating that releasing the data in an entirely separate and publicly unavailable report paints an alternate picture of the industry. It's as if consumers and press are only given a portion of the picture and made to guess regarding the rest of the story. In that sense, Steckler and EA are right. With digital distribution on a dramatic rise, tracking and releasing physical sales only is a definite misrepresentation of the industry.

[via CNN Money]