One of the more widespread topics at this year's Develop Conference is digital distribution. Getting down to the core of the subject today was an elite panel of developers and industry experts.
Among the crew was Mark Morris, Introversion's Managing Director, who spoke of the importance of such sales to his company - after they almost turned down a deal with Steam. "Thank fuck we didn't," he said.
But he also noted that, particularly for new development houses, selling products directly through their own company website is essential. "Closing a deal with Steam takes a long time," he said, "and at the end of all that they might say no." In the meantime, he stressed, it is important to have some sort of income ticking over.
Dorian Bloch from ChartTrack had opened the discussion, with a slideshow of stats and figures that posed questions about the PC's commercial viability for the games industry. His presentation showed that retail sales of PC games have been steadily declining for some time, and that there has been a 15% drop since 2006.
But he noted that among the biggest trends of 2008 were the rise of online distribution and micro-transactions. And Charlie Barrett of Kalypso Media Digital commented on how quickly such distribution methods are on the rise. "Trust me - it's more than 15%," he said.
Indeed, Broch noted that the profits for leading digital distributors is predicted to have increased more than twofold in the past year.
"Don't drop the PC," said Barrett. "It's certainly viable."