Studios called on to join digital chart

Studios called on to join digital chart
Michael French

By Michael French

August 11th 2010 at 12:00PM

Publishers unite for PC digital download sales chart; could launch in November

In a global first, the UK will get a PC games download chart later this year, MCV has revealed.

And British studios have been called on "to help to form and shape this important development for all of us".

Industry association ELSPA has been hard at work behind the scenes over the last 12 months convincing publishers to share data and bring clarity to the scope of PC downloads.

And the group is said will be reaching out to TIGA and its membership for further backing.

Firms large and small have backed the effort – Ubisoft, THQ, Square Enix, Sega, NCsoft, Midas, Mastertronic and Kalypso are all on board.

MCV understands it’s only a matter of time until their contemporaries go public with full support, too.

Sam Collins, ELSPA’s new commercial manager commented: “It is great to be working with members to build a report which will not only deliver member value, but one which will help the industry realise its potential in an increasingly connected digital economy.”

As with the retail reports, Chart-Track will be responsible for tallying the figures.

But unlike the traditional Chart-Track reports, the download chart will combine data that comes direct from publishers, not retailers.

All stakeholders have pledged to supply all sales data. Yes, even the numbers from popular sources like US developer Valve’s leading download service Steam. The site has otherwise been reluctant to align itself with any effort to share information directly.

UK-based indie dev Doublesix recently criticised the widespread secrecy surrounding digital sales data, claiming that the the “lack of transparency” is ultimately hurting the industry.

The studio's head James Brooksby said that he wants platform owners to make digital sales data public, saying that concealment of such information “is hindering the development of [digital] channels.”

The digital games chart will be unique within the international games industry. No other territory has a similar combined list.

An ELSPA working group is currently hammering out the finer details – with a target launch for November.

It’s a canny move for ELSPA. The organisation is poised to unveil its new UKIE identity and remit in September.

ELSPA is also keen to get the many independent developers that publish directly to consumers via the web supporting the chart.

Chairman Andy Payne explained: “I am calling for other members to join the group as soon as they can and not miss out in helping to form and shape this important development for all of us.

“We are in the process of reaching out to TIGA and their membership and hope to have more on that very soon.”