The Paper of (Inaccurate) Record

8 thoughts on “The Paper of (Inaccurate) Record

  1. I don’t think the author of the article is correct, but the Wikipedia page has discrepancies too. At the top it lists Vice City as having sold 8.5 million, but under the Playstation 2 heading it only reads 6.47 million. Perhaps there is a more reliable source?

  2. That’s a bit of the sort of poor practice that the site is supposed to be a watchdog against. The original article is almost certainly incorrect, but refuting a point with a refernece with such weak sourcing is just sloppy. Wikipedia should never be cited in earnest. The reliable articles are those which are well annotated, in which case the original sources should be cited directly. Wikipedia is a bazaar.

  3. The wikipedia list might be combined sales across all platforms for the “all platforms” list, even though they are giving a specific console for each game listed. Vice City was also on the Xbox and the PC.If you want real discrepancies, the all platform list has Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as 8 million, but the PS1 entry for the same game is 1.1 million.One of the references is Magic Box, and it itself copies weekly and monthly lists from other sites. So you are getting at times at best fourth party info (as the sites MB copies themselves get the info from elsewhere) that likely isn’t being updated consistantly or doublechecked in any fashion. Magic Box’s non-weekly lists also tend to get badly out of date.Ownt.com (the other reference) gives 8.5 million units for Vice City (and 8 million for the Harry Potter game.)

  4. Dengeki posts a top 50 weekly sales ranking, but they have removed the actual sales data itself in the last few years. (At one time, every game ranked had its weekly sales as well as total sales since release. Then it was cut back to the top 5 or 10 games only. Then it was cut entirely.) This is the main source that Magic Box would get its numbers from. I’ve no idea where Magic Box got its worldwide numbers, but probably from various articles.US data is even harder to get, unless you are willing to pay a few thousand dollars and sign NDAs, which in cases like this would defeat the whole point of getting the data.There is also another thing to be concerned about with numbers, and that is what the numbers are actually measuring. Companies, for example, like to hype releases by reporting the number of copies printed and shipped. Others report the much more indicative of success sell-through numbers. Often, numbers are estimates (though Japan’s distribution system makes tracking and even estimates fairly simple for that country, the same isn’t true for the US).

  5. True, the Wikipedia entry has discrepancies. But even excluding pack-in games, the top three Mario games on the list (SMB3, World, and Land) sold well over 30 million together. Those numbers would have to be WAY off to make GTA the best-selling series of all time. (and that’s without including top sellers like SMB2 and SM64).

  6. <>I’m not entirely sure you can treat a series as a single game, either.<>Well, to be fair, he calls it a “series” before calling it a “game.” The fact that no editor noticed this discrepancy within one sentence ponits to a desperate need for a video game style guide.

  7. Good points all. Wikipedia’s list is far from perfect, but it’s enough to at least make one skeptical of the NY Times “best-selling” assertion. I know authoritative sales data can be hard to come by, especially for old games. Does anyone have a good source?

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