The videogame industry is utterly f*cking stupid when it comes to secrecy, and nowhere has that become more apparent than with the NPD. For those who don't know, the NPD collects sales data of videogames and consoles in North America. It's been a valuable tool for those who want to know how the industry's shaping up, but the NPD is doing all it can to hide its data.
Previously, the NPD had stopped sharing sales figures, but it's now gone one step further and is no longer letting analysts give that data to the game press. In short -- nobody but a privileged few are allowed to see how well a videogame is selling, and that few is not allowed to tell the common folk. Only publishers are allowed to release their figures if they so choose to do so. Unsurprisingly, most of 'em aren't doing it.
This is absolutely ridiculous, of course. As our own Nick Chester pointed out, box office figures are freely available, as are television ratings and music sales. The game industry constantly pulls this cloak-and-dagger bullshit, and it's gotten beyond pathetic. I'm guessing the NPD is being pressured by publishers into doing this, because I see no logical reason for a sales data organization to not release its sales data, other than for companies to feel like they have even more control over the market.
Seriously, publishers, grow the f*ck up. Stop acting like you're Secret Squirrel and be a bit more open. The industry looks moronic when stuff like this still goes on.