UK Sales Charts Rigged?

Stumbled across this just now…the site is new but cites a reputable source…

It’s also not necessarily Nintendo related for those that care about that stuff.


Doesn’t that qualify as fraud?

Then again, so do the “staff picks” sections of retail aisles.

Six or seven years ago, CompUSA sold its “top ten” lists to the highest bidder, as well. Back then, I don’t think it was something they tried to hide (internally at least).


Of course they got the name of said reputable source wrong… (It’s MCV, not MVC).

If they call the list “Top 10”, they’re under no obligation to divulge the criteria used for making that selection. It could be the son of the CEO’s favorite games, the staff at an individual store, or it could be based on those that pony up bucks. Big whoop. Companies also buy shelf space; that’s not based on the merit or sales of a title.

Now if it’s called “Top Sellers,” that might qualify as fraud.

They have done this more recently, as well. I remember Daikatana being advertised on a store shelf as one of their “top ten” in spite of the fact that the game was still months away from actually hitting shelves.

It isn’t fraud any more then saying your resturant has ‘the best ribs on earth’, Yes, they are the ‘top ten’… But top ten for what? It doesn’t say top ten sellers or top ten rated.

It’s nothing new - but I am surprised that WH Smiths are doing it. GAME, the largest UK specialist games retailer, sells not only chart positions, but window space, shop positioning of stock etc etc.

It seems to me that the fellow from the ELSPA thinks it’s possible they’re using the same list to report their sales to the larger whole in the UK, which would be quite deceiving and apparently breaking whatever reporting agreement the retailer has with the body that reports the overall UK numbers.

Roger Bennett, director of ELSPA fumed, “I am at a loss to understand what all this business of charging to get a listing in charts at retailers is all about. One of the elements of members’ subscription is for the production of a definitive chart, which is based on actual sales from over 80 per cent of UK retailers.”


It’s entirely plausible that they’re reporting unit sales to ELSPA (as it’ll be some bod at head office pulling of sales figures through whatever the EPOS system is), but representing the charts incorrectly within the store.

Surely the solution is simple - a stipulation of members’ subscription would be that they have to display a printed chart, as provided by the body ina range of sizes.

I thought it was exceptionally common across most retailers for the shop chart to be “faked” like this? Just as shelf space, promotional space, window space is all bought, so are the charts.

But I believe they still report the “real” raw numbers to Charttrack et al.

Hard to say…buying in store space is one thing, but buying your way onto a list of best sellers is really another. If you’ve ever looked at the list of best selling items on EB Games, it’s usually got some oddball entries that can’t possibly be bought including significantly marked down games, etc. So I don’t think they’re doing anything of the sort. Right now for example, Animal Crossing e-Cards and NBA2K3 are on the list of best sellers on the main page along with MOO3 and Xenosaga. The first two are likely due to their low price and the second two due to their current newness/excitement level.

This is all news to me. I never heard of such a thing in all the years I was in retail. Buying shelf space…yeah, saw that. But never knew of anyone paying money to make believe their game was selling well. It actually doesn’t make a lot of sense to do it IMO. If you’ve got a bomb on your hands, it’s not going to help sales anyway so it’s like throwing away more money you’ll need to put out a competitive product the next time.

Of course, I’ve never thought there’s a lot of common sense in the higher up levels of many retailers/publishers anyway.