Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
19 May 2008
A Year Passes
Last year I started writing about the data released about the videogame industry every month by the NPD Group. The first article was about the May 2007 data, released in mid-June. I just finished the April 2008 data, which means I've done a full year in this line of work. If you care to look back at a year's worth of this kind of stuff, here you go:
Doesn't get much more exciting than that.

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--Matt Matthews at 01:04
Comment [ 5 ]

Comments on this post:

I've always found those analysis article very insightful and surprisingly the only good ones on the net. Great work!

You wouldn't happen to know if it's illegal to compile all the publicly available NPD data and post it online for everyone to see in an easy to read manner?

By Blogger unwelcome, at 19 May, 2008 01:49  

Thank you.

Regarding compiling NPD data and publishing it, I don't know. It might be hard to enforce, but I believe NPD does have a "proprietary and confidential" statement on all the materials it sends to the press.

Maybe Bob has an idea?

By Blogger jvm, at 19 May, 2008 09:31  

Bob's first comment is: despite the fact I talk about law on this blog some, I really am not a lawyer, and you really should interpret my legal commentary as amateur claptrap.

On top of that, _I_ don't get NPD data and haven't seen what this statement is. However, it sounds a bit like insisting the data is "off the record". You can comment _about_ the data and make aggregate statements, but not specifically quote the data? Sounds weird.

Further speculating, I reckon there's probably nothing _illegal_ about collecting old data together -- the question is whether NPD will continue to give you (or your publisher) future reports. Personally, I suspect they wouldn't care _too_ much about yesterday's news -- they get paid for providing current data -- but I'm not them.

I do know that getting daily futures prices (for example) off the web is free, but you have to buy the historical prices (presumably to create your brilliant hedge fund algorithm which will corner the market on pork bellies.) If NPD has notions of offering analytic/historical expertise, they might not want their data made public, even if it's no longer news.

Conversely, what's publicly available is presumably available because NPD didn't mind it getting published in the first place. Aggregating that old data so that it's easy to compare with forthcoming new data makes the new data more useful, so presumably NPD could garner more subscriptions (or higher rates) for that new data.

In summary -- I doubt there's any direct legal issues, except in terms of the contract between NPD and its customers. Within that, presumably NPD can choose who it sells to, so in addition to avoiding a legal suit, a customer has incentive to not annoy NPD in order to keep the business relationship. NPD might see third-party aggregation of old publicized data as either good or bad for them. If you're a customer of theirs, you might want to ask them how they'd feel about it; if you're not, you might not care how they feel.

But you might need a lawyer to tell you that this guy Bob on the internets is full of it.

By Blogger Bob, at 19 May, 2008 13:36  

Thanks for the replies, jvm and Bob. Just to clarify, I don't personally receive any NPD data nor intend to subscribe.

I would just like to consolidate the monthly NPD hardware and software data that I read on next-gen.biz, Gamespot, and other public sites and host them somewhere. It'll only be information easily available through Google.

I tried contacting NPD Group and they replied asking for clarification and then once I told them I wasn't interested in becoming a customer, they never replied. I guess I'll try emailing them again.

Well, thanks for your amateur claptrap. :)

By Blogger unwelcome, at 19 May, 2008 23:07  

If you properly cite your sources and compile what those sources have already made publicly available, I'm not sure how you'd run amiss of the law. Elsewhere, in my experience this repackaging stuff happens all the time.

IANAL. Or a TV lawyer, for all that matters.

By Blogger ruffin, at 20 May, 2008 08:34  

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