ELSPA Confirms UK Digital Sales Chart

Not exactly a headline rigged for comedy, but yeah, notable news. I’ve been following the lack of real information on PC digital downloads for a while, so it’s interesting to see an industry body trying to properly address the issue. ELSPA have announced that they will produce “a closed beta chart with Chart-Track, the intention being that once all parties are happy with the process of data collection and the output, a chart will be available through Chart-Track UK.” This chart will track UK digital sales from (at least) Ubisoft, THQ, Sega, NCsoft, Mastertronic, Kalypso Media, Midas Interactive and Square Enix. Initially it will just be for PC sales. And here’s the interesting bit: “All stakeholders have committed that sales data from third party resellers will be included, allaying fears that data from Steam would be missing from this chart.”

There are still some big names missing from that list, of course, but it looks like a good a start.


  1. Jim Rossignol says:

    I’m not sure what i was going for with that image. The best reason someone comes up with for why that image is appropriate to the article wins two random games pulled from my shelf. Seriously.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Easy, steam is the all consuming cthulhu of pc gaming. Chartrack man has seen into the abyss and now he can’t escape.

    • AndrewC says:

      Flickering green tentacles ensnare the guy from the ‘exit’ signs, symbolising how the victory of the digital world is also destroying our ability to escape from it.

    • westyfield says:

      The man is you, Jim. Running, always running, to the shops, because secretly you want to buy Modern Warfare 2 and The Sims 3. (The reason you only have one arm is because Modern Warfare 2 costs an arm and a leg, but you are a savvy gamer, and managed to haggle it down somewhat.) The green tendrils are a metaphor for digital distribution, pulling you back inside, away from the light, where it’s safe. One of the tendrils is hooked around your neck – that tendril represents all the indie games for sale online. They’ll be very disappointed if you buy a mainstream title like the ones they stock in the shops, Jim. Very disappointed indeed. Their tendril is around your throat, Jim.
      You see where this is going.

    • James G says:

      The fleeing figure represents PC Gamers (naturally) running towards a bright future of digital distribution, away from the tyranny of the restricted shelf space of the retail world. The many tentacles of the industry make a late attempt to recapture the forward thinking consumers ; the tentacled beast realises that it is unlikely to return the consumer to the maw of GAME/HMV/etc. so instead sends out its mind reading tentacle probes such that it may once more read in to our buying habits.

      Or something.

    • SmartChimp says:

      Knowledge is power and power in control. The green represents money and thus this is about knowledge over how we spent our money which will lead to control over our money. The tentacles are grabbing this poor sap because no matter how hard we try to avoid our every move being documented eventually we will be dragged into the abyss of no privacy.

    • Vinraith says:

      Obviously the tentacles represent ELSPA seizing the internet posting populace which is trying to remain in a world where they can speculate about digital sales as it pleases them and dragging them into a land where they have to contend with some actual hard data.

    • Fede says:

      The green tentacles represent the simple fact that as you buy online it gets harder and harder for you to return to buy to the retail shops.

    • robrob says:


    • Kid A says:

      Green snake tentacles
      Ensnare grey old businessman
      PC gaming not dead.

    • Benny says:

      It all began on an early evening writing of cynical games related tabloid bashing. You’d just finished explaining why people were wrong about something or other and a hunger pang hit your stomach.

      “Gosh!” you said, “I could really do with some pie right about now.”

      So you went to the cupboard and lo and behold! A Fray Bentos Minced Beef and Onion pie (made with delicious oxo gravy, topped with light puff pastry) was sitting on the shelf. The last one! Quickly you whipped out the can opener and ripped the lid off, like a mildy inept helper monkey, and shoved it into the oven, middle shelf, without even pre-heating it!

      Finally after what seemed like an age (which could have been less if the forethought to pre-heat had occured before popping the can’s lid!) the pie was ready. Grabbing a fork out of yesterday’s microwave meal box, still left on the sofa arm, you tucked in and started to relieve that empty stomach. But alas! You had been too long without food and your stomach had wilted away.
      “Eugh!” you howled, and unable to cope with the pie goodness you left the half eaten tin on the side of the counter next to that old cheese toastie maker you swore would be cleaned up after it was last used.

      14 months past. Great empires rose and fell. Tabloid Newspapers were still ignorant to the wonders of computer gaming and the memories of the pie were all but forgotten. Then, came another hunger pang, but this time all you had was cheese and bread. Feeling adventurous, you went in search of the fabled Cheese Toastie maker, knowing it was hidden somewhere inside. What you found will haunt your soul to this very day and words cannot describe. So you drew this very picture as a release to show the community of followers what it would be like to get attacked by a sentient Fray Bentos Pie.

    • Muzman says:

      The PC man can finally break free of the morass of console gaming sales stats and their supposed domination (shown here in X-Box green) and show his true independence.
      (not shown: the wiimote flying from his hand, smiting a television that was showing some guy, possibly from Epic, saying the PC is dead)

    • Jimbo says:

      Uhhh, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds?

    • sassy says:

      Obviously the man represents Steam, running away from the evil ELSPA tentacles. Desperately fighting despite having lost an arm, hand, both feet and mysteriously his neck. Fighting to make sure that they may still control all the data, fighting so that their monopoly isn’t exposed but mostly fighting not to get viciously tentacle raped!

    • Bob says:

      Its about the ties of retail holding back online sales, so making devs\publishers keep the prices high. The man is Steam etc trying to break off the ties and trying to be set free and have lower prices. The pure white background helps show the endless struggle and how they aint getting no where

    • Earl_of_Josh says:

      The image obviously is a complex rendering of repressed desires surfacing. This is also evidenced by the record high reading on the Hivemind Throbometer of 1.182%. The tentacles obviously represent the explosion of “Throbs”, while the black faceless person represents the anonymous masses about to be consumed by the Hivemind’s passion. For games related statistics. The person is running away because, as we all know, knowledge is a terrible burden and people are terrified of Throbs. I mean knowledge.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      Valve, heretofore content to leave open the suggestion (bolstered by its predilection for constant free giveaways) that its yearly revenue possibly approached infinity, is now being dragged kicking and screaming toward the cold, cruel light of quantification.

    • NieA7 says:

      The running man represents PC Gaming Everyman, desperate to flee the shackles of popularity and commercial success to concentrate on enjoyment and enlightenment. Sadly the tentacles of financial comparison cannot allow him to escape as to do so would be to admit that there may be more to platform, if indeed not life itself, than the bottom line.

    • AndrewC says:

      The tendrils represent Jim’s ability to get people commenting on a story about potential statistics.

    • Cooper says:

      It’s a euphemism for cheese.

    • Clovis says:

      I don’t care what that image means. I just want to know what it means to pull a PC Game from a shelf. Do you mean that brown thing your games sit on at GOG? I didn’t even know it was possible to do such a thing.

    • westyfield says:

      (As an aside, the image is from a Cthulhu warning sign – link to tineye.com )

    • Gentacle says:

      You’ll keep coming back for more pc game chart sales even if you don’t want to :O

    • wiper says:

      Well, the answer here is clear, and quite the opposite of Heliocentric’s /awful/ misinterpretation.

      The green tentacles are clearly representative of the old bricks-and-mortar distribution method; we can tell this is so because the natural symbol of said method (also sometimes known as ‘shops’) is, of course, the seahorse.* Cleverly, this image is then subverted by looking into the etymology of the fish’s genus – hippocampus, which translates roughly as “horse sea-monster”. Thus, we are shown that the ‘seahorse’ retailers are a creature past their prime, by going back to this ancient naming convention and so portraying them as a betentacled sea monster.

      Meanwhile, the running man of ELSPA is clearly breaking away from their grasp, finally free to count digital distribution and avoid the tendrils of this ancient monster.

      As such, a brilliant logo, I’m sure we can all agree!

      *the male-birthing process of the seahorse reflected in the male-dominated shops being given the ‘eggs’ (rights) to a game by publishers, then ‘birthing’ 1000s of copies to the public.

    • BooleanBob says:

      It is, obviously, a colour-inverted photograph of Alec, in a white jumpsuit, in the process of being consumed by a Grue.

      The border represents Steam. Or something.

    • sonofsanta says:

      The near-forgotten green grass of your youth grasps at you trying to pull you back, lure you out, tempt you with its heady scents of summer; but alas, Steam has another sale on and you need to get back to your PC before the offers change in 15 minutes. The green strand round your neck represents the last vestigial traces of the foot-to-ball addiction you suffered under in years past, and how the vile embrace of that alleged “sport” throttles the very life out of you with its attempts at encouraging 45 minute bursts of activity without a quick sit down or a sandwich or something.

      Also, the green tentacles could represent the tenuous strands of logic being employed in all these replies, and the fleeing man is your regret at ever asking.

    • Bullwinkle says:

      The man represents this article. The green tentacles represent the topic of piracy, which, like Cthulu, devours all discussions of sales of PC games.

    • Emphursis says:

      You’re all mad!

      The green tentacles are actually streams of data (from the digital downloads) and they are clawing in the stickman.
      This is representative of how digital distribution is dragging people away from traditional high street shops.

      Also, you have some sort of tentacle fetish :D:D

    • Pesforozo says:

      Jim is secretly into Portal fanfic.

      Wondering if only he saw the connection to GLaDOS’s leafy new home, with outstretched, phallic tendrils craving Portal’s iconic logo, he used the image for an unrelated RPS post.

      It’s okay Jim. It’ll be okay. You can work through this.

    • Sarlix says:

      Naturally the man represents the PC. No arm and no neck is symbolic of the inherent nature of the PC to adapt and evolve, thus escaping the evil clutches of the tentacles, which signify the many facades of monotony that have held the PC back. One last tendril holds on to the ankle, but it is in vain as the ankle will soon evolve into a rocket propelled grenade and blast the green evil into a big pile goo!

      OK I kind of lost it towards the end there.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Tentacle Porn Saves Floundering PC Gaming Industry

    • Pantsman says:

      You’re all wrong. Those aren’t tentacles at all, and no-one is being grabbed. The man is a Vulcan, Stevok, hired by the ELSPA to do their data gathering and analysis for this quantification of digital sales (Vulcans are good at stuff like that, since they’re all logical and wotnot). The brick-and-mortar retailers aren’t keen on having their coming obsolescence revealed to the public at large, and being a crooked and vicious lot, hired a crack squad of mercenaries to assassinate our Vulcan friend. They struck while he was on his way to the Chart-Track offices to deliver his findings, but luckily for him, these mercenaries were the distant descendants of imperial stormtroopers from a galaxy far, far away.

      Their sniper fired from a rooftop but missed Stevok’s head and took off one of his arms instead. Terrified and in considerable pain, Stevok bolted, as other goons hiding in the nearby bushes opened fire with their machine guns, inflicting numerous deep wounds but missing all vital organs and failing to stop their target from escaping. And so Stevok, as depicted here, ran wildly down the street, one-armed, his bullet wounds gushing streams of green Vulcan blood, desperate to get his data to Chart-Track before either his attackers or massive blood loss can stop him. Will he make it? IT’S UP TO YOU!

      Mirror’s Edge 2, coming Fall 2011.

    • Demon Beaver says:

      Cause, you know, why not?

    • Jake says:

      That’s a toilet door sign, for the toilets for people being controlled like puppets by tentacled green symbiotes. They get their own bathrooms. I didn’t read the article but I assume it is about the bathroom habits of symbiotic tentacle zombies.

    • Fumarole says:

      Do Not Fuck With Newell.

    • Nick says:

      They are streamers, its a celebration. The man is dancing.

    • DarkNoghri says:

      The “PC is dying” ne’er-do-wells are fleeing in such horror and confusion at this news that they are getting tangled in their own slipstreams.

      Meanwhile, the rest of us are all “Ooooh, party streamers.”

  2. The Fool Don't Get Fooled Again says:

    Steam is evil, etc.

    Also at first glance I thought this article was some how Portal related.

    • airtekh says:

      Portal 3: GLaDOS grows tentacles

    • Sir Derpicus says:

      Why not 2?
      Also, adding this to my list of “things that need japanese drawn renditions”.

  3. ZIGS says:

    I think I speak for everyone when I say: “finally!”

  4. Quasar says:

    The man represents digital sales, so far escaping the grasping tentacles of the octopus of statistics. However, as you can cleary see, with ELSPA’s announcement the many-tentacled beast is finally catching up to its prey.

    It is only a matter of time before the digital sales man (hah) is drawn into the beast, to be displayed in handy chart form.

  5. Coded One says:

    How about “Big Brother is watching the games that you download, revolt and escape from the evil tentacles of oppression!”

    There’s also “Every RPS article has some sort of image to go along with it, so Jim just grabbed the first tentacle porn image he found on his hard drive. Why you ask? Why not?”

    • Quintin Smith says:

      You know, it kind of makes sense that Jim masturbates to abstract silhouettes. Kind of.

    • AndrewC says:

      He masturbates with quadrilateral equations.

    • Gotem says:

      It must be a Portal related Hentai, of course after the rape there will be cake.

    • westyfield says:

      I remember Richard K. Morgan describing the silhouette of a nude woman lying on her side as being a sine wave, which kinda killed the mood. Thanks, Richard K. Morgan. Thichardkmorgan.

  6. Frankle says:

    I Thought It was the evil tentacles of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo trying to devour the Man (PC). in a hopeless attempt to hide the fact that Pc can be slowed but can never be stopped. PC will rule as it allways has.
    Yeah it’s rubbish. But I don’t care!!!!!!

    • Sarlix says:

      Actually I thought it was quite good :-)

      Also, wasn’t this the original cover art for Day Of The Tentacle?

    • Frankle says:

      @Sarlix thanks. I Imediately thought day of the tentacle too, but I think so did most people. great minds think alike and all that. Just a thought give him pointy ears and a cape and you’ve got a Batman vs. poison ivy thing going on.

  7. Crane says:

    Take my Sega, take my Sony, you can’t take Steam from me?

  8. Cooper says:

    How has this gone so long not being public data? Isn’t this -exactly- the kind of stuff shareholders want to know?

    • Zyrxil says:

      Why would they? The revenue and profit numbers are in the financial reports, and that’s enough.

    • subedii says:

      More importantly, Valve aren’t public so they don’t have shareholders. They pretty much don’t need to release the numbers for their releases to anyone.

      For every other company, well, it’s their call. Some do, some don’t.

  9. Entropy says:

    I thought the tentacles were the lines of a graph. (i.e. the charts) and the man is running away from the complexity of it all.

  10. LewieP says:

    I’ve not seen any explanation for how they’re going to handle indies.

    Also, do we know if price is going to have any bearing on the charts?

  11. subedii says:

    Let me know when Valve and EA are on there, not to mention Gamersgate, D2D and Impulse.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but Valve sales from Digital Distribution are going to be listed as zero in that chart when arguably their products are probably amongst the biggest DD numbers at the time of any given release. There’s also the problem that a growing number of titles aren’t coming from the major publishers, which is especially relevant when you’re dealing with DD. Torchlight’s managed to sell somewhere in the region of 400,000 – 500,000 copies via DD alone, but that’s self-published by Runic games via Steam, won’t show up. That’s even before you consider how Steam sales often juggle things around with Steam’s own top-10. That effect probably won’t be seen here either.

    To be honest, it just seems like another means of getting half-baked numbers. You’ll end up getting bizarre results as the game at the top of the chart won’t be the one that sold the most via digital distribution, it’ll just be the one from the biggest publisher present. Assassin’s Creed 2 never really made a real impression in the Steam charts, but I’d be willing to bet it would top this one.

  12. hosndosn says:

    I never understood the secrecy about Steam’s sale data, especially since every possible indicator (not just what they *say*) seems to point at the numbers being severely non-embarrassing.

    PS: FFS, is that RPS captcha so awful on purpose to force us to register? Just SAY it, if it’s that important to you.

  13. Coulla says:

    WE’ve all missed the point here. The man represents the fear of the ‘other’ which is inherent in us all. In this case the other is represented by the green tentacles, is the femininity inherent in us all, but acting as a stand in for a more singular female, Jim’s mother.

    The mother is one half of the bipartite authority system standing in judgement of us all from birth: The parents. the father is the traditional authority figure (In this analogy, the shop based sales system) while the mother (digital distribution) is less authoritarian and more nurturing and loving. The mother tentacles are therefore seeking to destroy Jim’s fear of the other (or should I say, his fear of alternative and less authoritarian sales systems) so that he can grow and progress as a fully rounded human.

    To round up. The green tentacles are trying to throttle Jim’s fear of Steam and Impulse.

    But will they succeed?!

  14. Celkiasian says:

    The tentacles are phallic representation of your homosexual side. You are running away but always in danger because you are continually and hopelessly fighting your urge to sexually experiment.

    However if you have already have a homosexual experience then it just represents your subconscious being a little freaky.

  15. Dao Jones says:

    Really love the tags to this article. :)

  16. Sarlix says:

    ….I knew Jim wouldn’t really give two of his games away! I thought all the answers were brilliant, but I would have picked ‘Wiper’ to win :-)