Editorial: Why it is so Easy to Blame VGChartz - VGChartz

Editorial: Why it is so Easy to Blame VGChartz - News

by Brett Walton , posted on 16 November 2010 / 20,589 Views

Ever since the formation of VGChartz, we have faced the same difficult scenario. Every piece of data we report is an estimate. It will always be higher or lower than the actual figure and there will always be some for which the figure is favourable and some for which the figure is not. Whenever we release a piece of data that isn't favourable for some reason, the easiest thing to do is to simply discredit the data. The most recent example of this is Aaron Greenberg's Twitter post commenting on our initial Kinect sales estimate:

"LOL'ing at sales reports from VGChartz, why do people release info as official when there is no source or science behind the #s?"

Firstly, the data was never presented as official. Secondly, our estimate of 475,000 units was pretty close to the final figure which seems to be around 550,000 units as confirmed by Microsofts recent announcement of over 1 million units sold worldwide in ten days. So why feel the need to comment when the sales are in the right area? Perhaps Greenberg didn't feel that the 475,000 figure was favourable given the hype behind the Kinect launch. Thirdly, attempting to discredit VGChartz with the claim that there is no science or source is the same line that everyone takes when they don't like a figure we publish - it is an easy way to deflect attention.

So what was the science behind Kinect estimates? Where does the 475,000 figure come from? We arrived at the figure via four distinct routes:

  • A telephone survey of retailers across America. We called over 200 retailers (distributed across the country and across different chains in a proportion representative of market share) and asked how many Kinect units they had purchased and how many they had sold. Now 200 retailers from 30,000 isn't a lot, but one GameStop will sell similar amounts to another - each new store you call follows the law of diminishing returns in terms of accuracy improvement. Then, on a retailer by retailer basis, we took an average per store and multiply by the number of stores. We then scaled this with any missing retailers to match the overall marketshare. This gives one estimate of Kinect sell-through.
  • A pre-order analysis using a typical pre-order to week-one ratio for a casual Xbox 360 title to arrive at a second estimate. An explanation of where our pre-order data comes from can form it's own editorial but a combination of retail pre-order info from best-seller lists at various stores and user pre-order data (purchase intent) via trawls of major sites are the two main contributors.
  • Contact a small retail panel who provide regular data for VGChartz and weigh and scale that data to provide a third estimate. We have a lot of experience with this data so while it isn't particularly representitive we have a lookup table of scaling factors and adjustment for different types of game / hardware.
  • A Gamercard analysis of more than 5 million Gamercards to calculate the proportion of players playing Kinect games (specifically Kinect Adventures), and from the raw figures we can scale up to produce a fourth estimate of sales via an analysis of gamercard to sales ratios for different types of game.

Taking a weighted average from the data arrived at via these four methods landed the 475,000 figure. These are just four of the ten different processes we have available for data collection (most of them automated) and the four that were applicable in this example. So, while VGChartz certainly doesn't have direct access to sell-through data from major retailers (and has never claimed that to be the case), there is still a science behind the data and some very clever and innovative work going on behind the scenes using data that most could have access to but only we know what to do with it (the competitive advantage that leads to such mystery surrounding our methodology).

What VGChartz offers is timely data that isn't meant to be 100% accurate but be in the right range. We don't compete with the likes of NPD, GFK or ChartTrack; we offer a service that is totally different. One that is not based on comprehensive and direct retail tracking, but rather uses modern and alternative methods to quickly arrive at estimates, combined with a database of historical sales - constantly adjusted and tweaked to be as accurate as possible. Timely data is a much sought-after commodity, especially in the world of investment and retail where knowing the success of a product 12 hours before your competitors can result in a huge advantage. The way we track sales at VGChartz is pretty much realtime - we don't have to wait for data to be aggregated or sent over (in the case of NPD, at the end of the month, for some retailers). We can pull figures in minutes after the close of the day. Accuracy is obviously the biggest sacrifice, but that is the balance we have to manage. To some users of VGChartz data, knowing that a game sold 7 million copies on day 1 with a margin of +-0.5 million and having that data hours after the end of the day is more valuable than having a more accurate figure two days later. These are the people who understand the idea behind VGChartz and what I am striving to achieve with the service.

It saddens me to see a senior figure like Greenberg taking cheap shots at VGChartz to mask their own apparent disappointment at initial Kinect sales. I don't understand why they would think that half a million units in 3 days in the Americas is something to laugh at - that puts sales right in line with Wii launch sales. Why bother to try to discredit VGChartz when, firstly, the sales are very good, and secondly, our estimates were clearly in the right area? It also saddens me to see major publishers wanting to hide and control the flow of data to the public. This is where VGChartz comes in - our primary goal is to provide independent data that is unavailable elsewhere to enable users to analyse the videogame industry. It shouldn't come as a major suprise that publishers, who have no influence or control over the information shown on VGChartz, should resort to trying to undermine a figure when sales of a product doesn't meet their expectations - it is no different to the behaviour seen by users on sites like NeoGAF and N4G who clearly fail to understand the point of VGChartz.

As VGChartz grows in importance and influence, I expect to see this happening more and more. Publishers will be happy to use our data when a product performs well but quick to dismiss when something doesn't. It will always be easy to attack the methodology and sources of our data, as it is something I keep closely guarded and for good reason. Anything that isn't understood is easy to dismiss and this mindset is unlikely to change. Fortunately, our data often speaks for itself. For every time we get a piece of data wrong, and I'm the first to admit that it happens, we get ten pieces of data right. We pegged Black Ops at 7 million on day 1 with 5.4 million across North America and the UK, Activision later confirmed 5.6 million across NA and UK (but including sales via Steam which VGChartz doesn't) - therefore our 7 million day 1 figure was spot on. For Kinect, we reported 475,000 units sold in 3 days in the Americas compared to 550,000 as the latest estimate. Initial Fable III figures were very close, same with Medal of Honor and Fallout: New Vegas. The only recent product we undertracked initially was PlayStation Move by around 20% and this is mainly due to the more casual nature of the product and inexperience with scaling ratios etc. Now that we have experience with Move, future estimates should be far more accurate.

The key to success with the data on VGChartz (or in fact ANY piece of data) is understanding its nature and limitations. Too many people fail to understand that the vast majority of figures reported in the press are estimates of one kind or another. "A third of 16 to 24-year-olds lost their virginity below the age of consent" according to a poll of 29,623 listeners of BBC Radio 1 in the UK. Seems like a reasonable sample size but is it representative? Are 30,000 Radio 1 listeners (for those not familar, Radio 1's audience tends to be in the 16-24, single, hip, sexually-aware category) who replied to an online poll about sex likely to be any more representitive of the whole population than 30,000 World of Warcraft users? Is a poll on gamrConnect asking "which of the VGChartz sub-sites is your favourite" going to return a result other than gamrConnect? Is asking ten people if they bought a game likely to return good results? Is reporting a game increasing 758% in sales on Amazon following a price cut newsworthy with Amazon's 3% marketshare? With VGChartz all of our samples are representative. If we carry out telephone polls of retailers, we ensure we target the different retailer chains in the same proportion as their overall marketshare. When we weigh different sources of data, we do so with weightings to reflect the overall market or the reliability of that source of data.

However, even with the greatest of diligence, our data is still just an estimate so whenever quoting a figure from VGChartz it should be listed as an estimate and readers should be made aware that there is a margin of error associated. With this in mind, VGChartz data is fine for most applications - from a year-on-year genre analysis to first-day estimates for a major title to a ballpark estimate of total sales to date for a given game. It just requires the user to have a little common sense and realise that an estimate is not exact but better than having no information and intended to point you in the right direction. If we list the sales of a game at 600,000 then you know it hasn't sold 1 million and you know it hasn't sold few hundred thousand. It might not have sold exactly 600,000 but it should be around that range. It gives you more information than you had before but you must remember that it isn't an exact figure.

Maybe if websites, readers, retailers and major publishers got on board with VGChartz, dismissed the various political reasons they have not to support the site (which could form an editorial of its own) and understood the nature of the data and the insight it gives into the videogame industry to the extent that developers, investors and VGChartz readers seem to appreciate, then maybe the data could improve even further and that way everybody could benefit.

Any questions or comments, please leave a comment below or email me - bwalton@vgchartz.com

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ioi (on 16 November 2010)

To those saying we need to be clearer with the word estimate - the methodology page is pretty clear that all figures are estimates and I tend to make that even more explicit when writing sales articles. I have never described our data as anything other than estimates - like I said in the article it is down to those who read or report on the data to relay the fact that it is an estimate and understand where the data comes from.

IsawYoshi (on 25 May 2014)

What an interesting article! 'Tis a shame Ihaven't seen it before.

Tammi (on 30 June 2011)

I really enjoy the sales data. As long as the estimates are close to the actual number, that's good enough for me...

MARCUSDJACKSON (on 12 December 2010)

p.s Greenberg nor any other publication want's to mess with a community thats sixty thousand plus stronge. they wouldn't last a day against the cellective minds of the VGC"Z community. they don't won't nun.

MARCUSDJACKSON (on 12 December 2010)

you know i don't even need to read this artical to comment on it cause i've already been very vocal about it and have definded VGC'S so theres no reall need for me to comment on this artical just by the title alone. if i truley had a problem with any estiments here on this site i'd find another, but theres no need. some people need to learn wht estiment means and get over the small stuff, if you don't know wht the definition of estiment is or wht it means get a dictionary assuming you can spell.

dahuman (on 21 November 2010)

people don't like estimates but real numbers, so they don't get the point of VGChartz, but to us regulars, we understand it just fine that it's meant to be an estimate to start with, and it's not like those "real" numbers are much more accurate compared to the actual numbers and VGChartz is usually impressively close with the methods that the site uses.

MARCUSDJACKSON (on 17 November 2010)

well it easy to get it wrong. i think PS3 sells here on vgchartz are off by 2m(should be 43.1m based on current numbers), but when you don't have all the data you can only post wht you know or got!

ryuzaki57 (on 17 November 2010)

Don't worry! For me there's no doubt you're the best in the field! And like you say, I prefer an estimate (which is often accurate when you look at the final data) NOW than precise data at the end of the month. And undertracking is by no means a mistake, it's more like a safe assessment. Look how sony players were delighted when PS3 sales were revised up!

ssj12 (on 17 November 2010)

@brod - our methodology is easily found on this site.

korn62586 (on 17 November 2010)

well said

brod (on 17 November 2010)

Why isn't information like this more prominent on your site? It should be seen by everyone that visits.

Purgingomen (on 17 November 2010)

Traditionally, when you look at sales figures aren't you supposed to assume they are estimates? I mean, the only institution i would trust for exact figures would be a distributor and or a publisher, and even than i would be skeptical :/

Nostrom (on 17 November 2010)

I do understand that you are not implying that your numbers are exact. I didnt want to say you are reporting some sort of untruth. But by reporting the way VGCharts does you get the impression that they are. Someone coming to the site and seeing a number like 230,284 will assume it is meant as an accurate number. As far as i understand this is a well proven psychological mechanism. Perhaps rounding is not the best solution especially for small numbers. But i think VGCharts would be well served if it would make it more clear that the numbers are estimates. Perhaps include a methology link with the sales reports? And yes i noticed that you round the numbers in the previews. I like the tables from the Japanese previews very much.

ioi (on 17 November 2010)

Nostrom - there is a difference between precision and accuracy. Most estimates are given to the nearest unit or a couple of decimal places in the case of percentages - this shouldn't imply that it is an exact figure. We actually started by reporting sales to the nearest 1000 units, but I changed to displaying the full figure as sales under 1000 were always being rounded up or down and it didn't really work. You'll notice that whenever I do a preliminary sales report I always round up or down to the nearest 10000 or whatever. I don't think we are pretending that a number is accurate by reporting it to the nearest unit and like I've said the methodology makes it more than clear enough that all figures are estimates.

Nostrom (on 17 November 2010)

i think some of the problem stems from the fact that vgcharts number 'pretend' to be correct. But in reality there is some margin of error. As an example take the number of PS3 sold in EMEAA this week: 230,284 With a margin of error of only 1% the last 4 digits of the number are just random noise. Why not admit to it and just report 230,000 sold? As with any survey and statistics based method VGCharts should also report the error margins so the readers can get a feeling how accurate the numbers are.

Podings (on 17 November 2010)

Some people are assholes. They don't come here to feed their curiosity of the state of video game sales. They come here for ammunition in the "console wars" or to feed their own deranged gamer ego.

Zappykins (on 17 November 2010)

I think you all do a great job. Every company has to revive their own numbers now and again. You are doing an admirable job with your numbers. The fact that Greenberg chose to comment on you should be taken as a great complement. Plus, you give us all a free site where the fanboys and the trolls can get their daily grumbling done. And the rest of us a fun place talk and learn.

BengaBenga (on 17 November 2010)

Good article! Greenberg and other industry leaders should be extremely supportive of VGChartz, as It's one of the innovations the game industry needs to get as mainstream as other forms of entertainment. For movies and music there's very detailed weekly data, but for games there was no such thing before VGC. It would be nice if you could get more invetors using the site to publish articles like this, if investors see it as a useful tool, so should the publishers that are owned by them.

menx64 (on 17 November 2010)

Vgchartz numbers are not 100% accurate I know, but it is fine, I mean it is an estimate & a very good one. If it wasnt for vgchartz we wouldnt know sales info for most games, NPD only shows a few numbers every month... The most important thing of VG chartz is, as Brett said, help people (gamers) to understand the game industry... VGchartz pls keep the amazing job you are being doing for all this years...

MaulerX (on 16 November 2010)

@ Mad55 Since when is your post count on a message board a measurement of how much someone enjoys a particular website, and vice-versa? I love reading the articles and ESTIMATES. I know they are just that, ESTIMATES. Unlike you, I don't take them serious enough to get butt-hurt over dissenting opinions.

Mad55 (on 16 November 2010)

@MaulerX how exactly do you enjoy the site? you've only posted in the forum twice. ughhh but anyway go vgchartz lol haters make you stronger keep on gaining.

SSDNINJA (on 16 November 2010)

A big problem is that very few people actually know what proper survey procedure is. After taking some graduate level quantitative classes, I can tell you that survey methods are by no means intuitive or matter-of-fact. I can also tell you there is no such thing as a perfect survey, even if it uses the entire population for its sample size.

benao87 (on 16 November 2010)

Just keep up the good work ioi.

MaulerX (on 16 November 2010)

Personally I enjoy Vgchartz for what it is. But the reality of the matter is that EVERY SINGLE website and message board outside of Vgchartz believes that Vgchartz is a total joke. In a very odd way Vgchartz pretty much validated Aaron Greenberg's point. The fact that Vgchartz just admitted to just calling 200 of 30,000 retailers validates everyone's opinion on this site. Vgchartz is really no different than Michael Pachter, who makes all these predictions and guesstimations that every once in a while you are bound to get a few right.

Nereid (on 16 November 2010)

Well, firsly I think this site has done a pretty decent job thus far. However, if you guys realise you are underestimating or overestimating some numbers, its never too late for adjustments. Either the original numbers or the multipliers for scaling ratio.

Rick82 (on 16 November 2010)

The PS3 already sold more than 42m units. Could be a nice start to correct the numbers.

Cobretti2 (on 16 November 2010)

Well I have no problem that you guys do estimates as we all know they are that and I think you do a good job. The biggest problem I had yesterday was the fact you had TWO ARTICLES POSTED THE SAME DAY one official Microsoft numbers then your estimate article, which totally contradicted each other. Both of them should of never made news as it looked unprofessional with the same site reporting two sets of numbers.

scottie (on 16 November 2010)

Ugh, twitter formatting looks nice in the forums but not on news replies

NeoRatt (on 16 November 2010)

I'm not sure this kind of article is the best approach to the issue. Maybe an article only about how VGC gets the numbers would have been more appropriate without mentioning Aaron or his comments. All this article does by citing Aaron, is roll in the mud with him.

AwesomeElmo (on 16 November 2010)

I have to laugh at all the people saying bias this bias that. :D When I started reading vgchartz about 5 or 6 years ago everyone said "VGchartz is biased to sony" (the ps2 was king of the hill at the time). Then soon after it was "VGchartz is biased to nintendo" (after the wii and nintendomination). Now it's "VGchartz is biased to microsoft". Holy shit? REally?? A site that reports sales numbers has figures that are biased towards the best selling games of the time? Who would have thunk it. Maybe VGchartz should normalise across consoles so, ok God of War being one of the best selling games on PS3, it didn't sell 3 million copies it sold 22 million. Oh and Wii Sports only sold 20 million. Also for every move controller sold exactly 1 kinect camera is sold. Seriously guys, what use would that information be?

AwesomeElmo (on 16 November 2010)

"more representitive of the whole population than 30,000 World of Warcraft users?" You cut me deep Brett. D: And for the record I DO plan to have sex as soon as I move out of my mother's basement. ;)

Purgingomen (on 16 November 2010)

I wouldn't even pay them (Greenberg) a piece of mind; analysis companies should respect and promote each other, not talk down and disregard each other. As far as i know, data analysis is non-profit and is about getting useful information to the public. Unless that information is distinctively and blatantly false, there should be no professional reason to "call it out". Competition is great, but not as a detriment.

TheWon (on 16 November 2010)

VGC is the only unbiased numbers sites there is! Keep up the good work, and don't be threaten by the man.

Omega_Phazon_Pirate. (on 16 November 2010)

Ya, I think this was a good article, and I think they were just calling out Greenberg's cheap shot, which I respect them (VGC) for doing.

kimsk112 (on 16 November 2010)

A company will use the number if it makes them look good in the news. I don't think there is anything wrong about bashing the number. But VGC is doing the right thing to let the world know how they get the numbers, and they should be close to the real numbers. Good article!

Psychotext (on 16 November 2010)

Having now seen an example of how you arrive at your estimations for some reason I find it even harder to have any faith in them. Also... "pretty close to the final figure", which you yourselves have estimated using seemingly the same methodology as you were called out for? That's some impressive logic, especially as it appears that even you believe you were in the ballpark of 20% out originally.

Cross-X (on 16 November 2010)

I love you VGC!!!

salaminizer (on 16 November 2010)

what's funnier: people that don't get what "estimates" are or people that think Brett and the other guys have a "secret" Company X agenda?? saying that VGChartz is "biased" tells more about yourself than about VGChartz. and when you have companies like Square using VGC numbers in their presentations, surely there must be something RIGHT in them.

farlox (on 16 November 2010)

it's a pretty immature tweet to make, but on the other hand you can't have it both ways. VGChartz calls itself "The most comprehensive videogame charts and industry analysis in the world" and then gets all hurt when they get called out for being 15-20% off actual numbers.

Kenology (on 16 November 2010)

Wow... lot's a brand new accounts created just to bash VGC some more up in here, lol

heruamon (on 16 November 2010)

Good luck guys, and I hope you all start getting more respect.

Grandia (on 16 November 2010)

At first I want to say that I have very much respect for the work of VG-chart. You make a good job an moustly VG-Chartz is very close to the real Numbers. But than I have two Ponits were my sight not conforms with your sight. First if you mention Playstation Move as a real high undertracking witch you undertracked by 20%. Than I must say I don't get why you are angry about the loling of Aaron Greenberg? You undertracked Kinect also by 15% witch is not so fare from 20%. You predicted Kinect by 470.000 the real Kinect Sales lies around 550.000. That's an undertracking of 15%. Second I did not think that Aaron Greenbers loling at VG-chartz because he is disappointed by the kinect sales. I think you stole Microsoft the show, the kinect sales a really good you self mentioned it in your Text. I think Microsoft want release this good numbers for it self an celebrate this number al little bit more. You took them the butter of there brad.

EmpireNO (on 16 November 2010)

"Why it is so Easy to Blame VGChartz" Because you're biased and always undertrack PS3 sales.

Jordahn (on 16 November 2010)

TRios_Zen & kowenicki, let em just say that no hostility was intended, and I'm still apprehensive because I have heard this site being accused of being an Xbox 360 fan site. Sorry guys. There's no point in putting put a big fuss over a disagreement especially since it's "just" about video games. As "gay" as this sounds, I'd give you guys a hug if I can. For whatever it's worth, game on guys.

yo_john117 (on 16 November 2010)

Excellent article! Keep up the good work :-)

Kenology (on 16 November 2010)

Great editorial, ioi. And I applaud you for responding in such a classy and professional manner. I really hope Greenberg is reading this because he really made himself look foolish with that tweet. The rest of detractors would do well to read this write up as well. Clearly, many seem to have a deep misunderstanding as to the purpose of VGC and how to assess the data it provides. Anyways, great job.

Lazthelost (on 16 November 2010)

Seriously? Did his tweet hurt you that bad? I mean he was right, you didn't have the correct numbers. That isn't a knock at VGChartz, but he was right. I'm sorry but this editorial is pointless, you have a method of figuring out sales figure estimates, and the companies that produce their products will have the exact numbers. That is the way it is always going to be, so please stop with the backlash.

Carl (on 16 November 2010)

This was a really good read. Hopefully it helps us progress and gets less people to just troll our numbers straight away. Hopefully!

DitchPlaya (on 16 November 2010)

Interesting article, i mean i remember ioi saying that their data is every bit as good as NPDs or GFKs, but it seems that VGC gets the most flack for sometimes being a little off. Heck i remember how the community was fuming when the UK was shown to be lead by the 360.

Euphoria14 (on 16 November 2010)

Great read.

Christenal (on 16 November 2010)

"@vgchartz Sorry if my note offended, would love to chat offline about methodology & concerns with accuracy, polling v. real sales etc." this is aaron greenberg on twitter again, it seems he turned a bit and we can love him again

McGran (on 16 November 2010)

An excellent explanation of the methodology behind the VG Chartz numbers. Thanks for posting this. However, why the unnecessary dig at Aaron Greenberg? It adds nothing to the article and comes across as a simple fit of pique. Remove the Greenberg references and let your article stand on its own merits - it'll be better for it.

Hephaestos (on 16 November 2010)

good job ioi, that was a good read and should convince the few unbelievers that'll take the time to read it. (well that's the downside, people who don't like VGC won't even read your article :-/, but a few enlightened people is better than none) It's also a great way to explain in more detail what happends here to members who just don't know.

MaxwellGT2000 (on 16 November 2010)

@Cueil It's basic rules of statistics, if you really don't understand stats then even this explanation isn't going to help out much, people don't understand how stats work and will try to discredit it, the only way to get 100% accurate data is through a census and since that's impossible on a reasonable budget and timeframe you have to work with what you've got.

fervor (on 16 November 2010)

From the very beginning, if you always made it clear that your numbers are an estimate and explained your methodology, you would have had a lot more credibility, instead of getting random hate like you are right now. This entire situation would have been avoided with a few additional words in the original post. Do you think Greenberg would have LOL'ed at your post if you made it clear what the numbers are? No. Stop pointing your finger at other people for not taking you seriously. In this case, you have to take some of the blame too.

Cueil (on 16 November 2010)

This was a long time coming you should have your methode link on ever page as well. You get upset but you've never done anything to explain to people how you go about getting your numbers if anything Greenburg should be thanked for making you actualy speak about this at length. It's annoying to explain to the ignorant how you work and that there is always a margin of error.

Rainbird (on 16 November 2010)

@ Spedfrom What Xbox fans are you talking about? I haven't seen any react the way you've described.

Spedfrom (on 16 November 2010)

Xbox fans on this site are disappointed that Brett chose Aaron Greenberg's childish lash at VGChartz as the catalyst for this article. How ridiculous. That's a long time coming article Brett, but it was much needed. Thank you for the insight into VGChartz's gears.

ioi (on 16 November 2010)

@stiak - I don't often quote an exact range in articles but I always point to the fact that figures are preliminary or estimated and come with a margin of error. I am yet to do a full analysis (and what would you compare it to) but I often quote to clients that 90% of the data we produce falls within 10% accuracy so this can be taken as a general guide.

slickb17 (on 16 November 2010)

Don't usually comment but I appreciate VgChartz insights and check site on a regular basis. Keep up the good work.

Pavolink (on 16 November 2010)

Is this the result for the Lol'ing that Greenberg do to VGChartz? Come on guys, you are doing a great job. Its not easy like a lot of people think. Greenberg is one of the biggest FAILURES for the industry. Just forget him. You must continue doing fine. :D

kowenicki (on 16 November 2010)

Jordahn. It wasnt me that said it would provide further validation.. and I certainly dont agree with that. Thats not what I was commenting on.. I was merely maintaining that a closer business like relationship with all manufacturers is a very good thing. You said it wouldnt be... I think you are wrong.

TRios_Zen (on 16 November 2010)

@Jordahn: you've misquoted me. The full quote reads: "Greenberg has reached out, and if you can forgive and forget, you can likely establish a relationship that would strengthen the validity of your estimates (and it's shortcomings) with a industry leader." In other words, VGChartz can show Greenberg how their numbers ARE science and acknowledge to Greenberg the shortcomings noted in the article above, THUS validating their reported numbers to him, so he doesn't dismiss them the way he did earlier. NO ONE suggested that they allow Microsoft to influence there numbers as you have erroneously implied.

Jordahn (on 16 November 2010)

kowenicki please do not attempt to change the focus because I presented a valid point that has yet to be addressed. Again, "establish a relationship (with Greenburg) that would strengthen the validity of your estimates" when the estimates were already valid while Greenburg was trying to INVALIDATE them. This cannot be argued, and it's very reasonable that this site would not want to be scrutinize when seen as biased than it already has been falsely accused of. This is wisdom. If you cannot understand this, your legal age is not a valid sign of wisdom.

stiak (on 16 November 2010)

I guess one of the issues is that I've rarely seen the +-0.5million range alongside your estimates. Take the hardware numbers for example. You report them to single digits. That implies a lot of accuracy behind them. For them to be 1,000,000 units out (I think that was the latest ps3 adjustment) is a lot to take without warning. Most scientific reporting gives an error margin. If you are happy with your science then how about reporting that margin too.

Jordahn (on 16 November 2010)

kowenicki, you know good and well that when this site starts to align themselves with any of the console makers, people are going to start calling out "foul" because of potential tainted one-sided information. The site has thus far been doing very well, and will still do well as long as it remains neutral while catering to its readers. I speak reason, you speak appeasement, and everyone knows it. Brett should and I'm sure he will accept an apology from anyone, but that is not reason to align themselves with any of these companies. This is the reality. The context here is "establish a relationship that would strengthen the validity of your estimates." Guess what? Where were you the past few days when Greenburg INVALIDATED VGChartz's numbers when VGChartz was correct all along. Go figure. Stop fooling yourself, kid, and open your eyes.

TRios_Zen (on 16 November 2010)

@Jordahn: what do I have to gain if chartz forges relationships with industry leaders? I neither work for Microsoft nor for VGChartz. IMO if Brett establishes and cultivates relationships with ALL industry leaders, not just Microsoft's, it only helps to establish the validity AND viability of the data provided herein. This is the second time you've implied something about a comment I've made that is totally off base...may I suggest that you don't assume everyone has an ulterior motive when posting?

Beuli2 (on 16 November 2010)

So that's how the magic is done.

Vueguy (on 16 November 2010)

it doesn't matter if its correct or incorrect, who care about sales anyway. if you like the product, buy it, if not, don't buy it, simple as that. all i know is that i am not buying Kinect till they release some hardcore games for it first.

kowenicki (on 16 November 2010)

@jordahn Dont ever start a business.... it will fail. You can remain FULLY independant whilst working with representatives of Sony, Nintendo and MS. Thats how business works in the real world. It is much better to have these giant corporates on your side than trying to push against them. If an olive branch is there then it should be grasped.

Jordahn (on 16 November 2010)

"...you can likely establish a relationship that would strengthen the validity of your estimates (and it's shortcomings) with a industry leader." I'm sure you would like this, TRios_Zen. But, NO! Do not bend over forward for anyone. Show no conflict of interest. Stay independent. This is what makes VGCharts credible.

kowenicki (on 16 November 2010)

@richard Its a business much more than its a service (or at least it should be).... better to work with the industry than without it. I'm sure Brett knows this and would prefer it. Anyway looks like something good may come from it now.

djstrykermx (on 16 November 2010)

What an awesome post, a great read... too bad that sometimes corporate employees get offended whenever their company does not perform as expected and are quick to dismiss anything. I can speak for myself and say that I deeply appreciate all the work that's being done by the VGchartz staff and to say it's for free speaks even better about this website, you can truly feel and read the passion all the writers and members put into this site. With that said, it also speaks bad for Mr. Greenberg to use phrases such as: "LOL'ing at sales reports from VGChartz", what can you expect from an influencial industry man when he expresses himself using such non professional language. Did you forget to take your executive language serving this morning Mr. Greenberg?

richardhutnik (on 16 November 2010)

If the industry has issue with what Brett is doing, then they can work together to publish their own numbers. Of course, they have NOTHING to gain from doing this, so they won't. Having the spin of success, and making the media believe the are THE system to get, is what matters. Brett does a service here, even if it isn't perfect. People who disagree, and hate Brett can stuff it? Anyone want to do up an "I'm with Brett" sign that is like "I'm with CoCo" that Conan O'Brien had?

kowenicki (on 16 November 2010)

@trios Couldnt agree more..... and while you are at it Brett... get an exclusive interveiw with him.

TRios_Zen (on 16 November 2010)

While I understand the defense of something you have created, I think you are presented with a fantastic opportunity here: Greenberg has reached out, and if you can forgive and forget, you can likely establish a relationship that would strengthen the validity of your estimates (and it's shortcomings) with a industry leader. THAT is great news for chartz I would think.

kowenicki (on 16 November 2010)

PS. I am not Greenberg.. even though he has just suggested to Brett what I suggested earlier in this discussion.. Just thought I'd clear that up :-)

fervor (on 16 November 2010)

There is a problem. In the original post re: kinect sales, it does read like the information is real and accurate. Even the title "Initial Kinect Sales Revealed" doesn't say anything about the numbers being an estimate. Read the entire article. There is NOTHING indicating that these numbers are estimates or projections. Second. Nowhere in the article do you indicate the methodology used. As a result, it seems like you are pulling these numbers out of thin air. No wonder people questioned the science.

Jordahn (on 16 November 2010)

Short answer: I'm with VGChartz. Don't let the big man get in your way.

ioi (on 16 November 2010)

@Darth - like I said earlier this isn't a response to Greenberg specifically, just a general piece that I've been wanting to write for a while now in an attempt to explain to detractors that it is their lack of understanding that causes their troubles with VGChartz, not anything that we are doing wrong.

Simulacrum (on 16 November 2010)

It sucks, but thats the way it really should go.

PDF (on 16 November 2010)

He apologized

Black Fist (on 16 November 2010)

You do know that Microsoft is full of retards, right? So, to hell with them. But, there are ways you can make the site even better. To released download chartz would be kick ass. I'm talking about XBLA, PSN, Wiiware, and DLC. Also to show dowload purchases when it comes to PC games (Steam, Direct2Drive, Gamersgate...) On another note, the site is extremely slow when compared to before the update; and the games should have a direct link to jump from one platform to the other, for example, the 360 version of Black Ops should have a direct link to the PS3, PC and Wii. Or better yet, to have the 3 version in the same page, this way we can compare versions and not having to be jumping around. As this is a sales tracking site, is totally normal for the user to be wanting to compare how a certain version of the game sold compared to the other console. But, like everyone said, keep up the good work

morenoingrato (on 16 November 2010)

2 things: I'll never blame vgchartz and that huge wall of text is too hard to understand for normal people

Darth Tigris (on 16 November 2010)

I had mixed feelings reading this, Brett. While I understand why you felt this needed to be said, I guess I'm a bit taken as to the catalyst for it. To be honest, do you really CARE what Aaron Greenberg had to say about your work? The fact is that there are at least dozens of people RIGHT HERE ON THE SITE that have attacked your work over the last 4 or 5 months and still repeatedly do so. If anything, this should be aimed at THEM and not using Greenberg as an example. It almost feels like you put more weight into his words because he's more popular. There have been those of us that have stood up for the efforts of the VGC staff to provide us a relatively close estimate of numbers that aren't exhaustively tracked currently, even when mistakes have been made. The community is important, more so than company execs. Keep up the good work.

famousringo (on 16 November 2010)

Seems like the fundamental problem is that so many people want The Truth. They crave it and expect authoritative sources of information to give it to them. A tough reality in our world is that The Truth is rarely available. We have to make do with The Truth's wimpy little cousin called Evidence, and work hard to judge whether Evidence is being a good boy today or not.

Rainbird (on 16 November 2010)

Mr. Greenberg tweets: @vgchartz Sorry if my note offended, would love to chat offline about methodology & concerns with accuracy, polling v. real sales etc. http://twitter.com/#!/aarongreenberg Seems something has gone right :D

binary solo (on 16 November 2010)

Histry has shown that there's good credibility in VGC data. One dorkish comment from an industry exec who's got his nose out of joint for some reason isn't going to change that. People who don't understand statistical methods and estimation are never going to "get" this site; leave them to their ignorance.

NYANKS (on 16 November 2010)

Epic Post.

alic18 (on 16 November 2010)

You guys do a bloody good job! Your comittment to quality, speed and transperancy is a huge bonus to the gaming community, and we would be all worse off without you. All I can say, is keep it up! With your help we can keep the corporates in check, and drive better gaming experiences for everyone. Forever in your debt! Al - from NZ..

GianCarmen (on 16 November 2010)

Great post Brett. I have enjoyed coming to vgchartz for a while to see your estimates, and i welcome the great job your team does in getting numbers for games each week. Keep up the good work, because its only going to get better.

YoshMaster (on 16 November 2010)

I've always understood the way VGChartz worked (not in-depth of course but the general idea) and once you understand it, this site rocks! It's so surprising to see how little tittles get their numbers showed by the publisher!! And I'm often more interested in seeing the numbers of smaller games than big huge games that sells millions! Why? Because the million sellers we know about and we then know it's going to spawn 12 sequels in 8 months.. But the smaller games that we like and wish there would be a sequel or two, they're the ones who we must check the numbers to see if it sold enough. I'd say that most of my top 25 games of all-time weren't that HUGE of a seller. Some Mario/Zelda titles ok, but most of them sold under a million... Anyway, long story just to thank you for your hard work, and long live VGChartz!!

Dannagar (on 16 November 2010)

I appreciate VGChartz. At least someone is trying to bring us the latest figures.

Freyt (on 16 November 2010)

I guess people didn't know what estimates were before this article? Why ask if there's a science behind an estimate when science IS an estimate?

Boberman (on 16 November 2010)

One difference when Activision reports 5.6 across North America, its units shipped. You report units sold. So there should be a discrepancy. Since there is none, it appears you are still over tracking sales. But the site is a relatively close estimation on sales, just not reliable enough to state as fact.

ZechsMerquise (on 16 November 2010)

Loved the article, more often than not I find VGChartz to be slightly conservative in their estimates rather than over estimating - which in my opinion is a good thing. VGChartz is a valuable tool for the industry and I for one appreciate the work that goes on here.

MidgetQ (on 16 November 2010)

there are no greater fanboys than the children that work at microsoft. especially for greenberg. he should be convicted of douchebaggery, or as the germans call it - "das ubergay"

brendin24 (on 16 November 2010)

I dont think many people realize that it was just America, and not worldwide.

Rainbird (on 16 November 2010)

Great read, hopefully a few minds will be swayed into reason after reading this. :)

ethomaz (on 16 November 2010)

Great article @ioi... explain a lot of things. One question: What is the margin of error used by you? 10%?