NPD digital distribution figures ‘not a reflection on reality’

NPD Group’s recent report on digital game sales in 2009 coming awfully close to those of physical copies is downright incorrect, says Impulse parent Stardock CEO Brad Wardell.

According to the US number cruncher, digital downloads last year hit 21.3 million while physical buys were at 23.5 million. Pretty much half and half then. But not so in reality, Wardell believes.

“NPD’s numbers on digital don’t tend to have much reflection on reality,” he’s told Shacknews (via). “As much as I would love digital distribution to take over the world. I can’t think of a single publisher (including ourselves) that sells even close to a majority of its units digitally.”

“I am a big believer in the future of digital distribution but the numbers we typically hear from publishers is that it’s about a third (which is pretty darn good, by the way).”

This isn’t the first time Wardell’s challenged NPD’s digits; as 2009’s top digital distributors were lined up, Wardell said Impulse has 10% of the market share “in terms of actual dollars generated per month,” a number competitors Direct2Drive (“disinformation at best”) and GamersGate later criticized.