It looks like the debate between 'physical' media (ie discs) and downloads is set to flare up again this week, with the news that the value of PC game downloads is set to top a BILLION US dollars in 2009.

The market for digital downloads last year was $600m according to GfK ChartTrack boss Dorian Bloch, who confidently told a panel discussion at Develop 09 that the value of the PC games download market will easily exceed $1bn in 2009.

Bloch credited the rapid growth in game downloads to services such as Valve's Steam and Direct2Drive.

Forward-thinking publishers

However, ChartTrack still argue that publishers need to give the download market more support, in terms of PR and marketing, to make sure these figures are properly promoted.

There is talk of introducing a regular game download chart, so that the industry and consumers alike can see exactly what is being sold digitally over the internet each week.

Block gave a nod to certain forward-thinking publishers such as Sega (a leading publisher that has embraced Steam in the last year, in particular) and called for "a balanced approach" from publishers to enable them to maximise the true potential of PC downloads.

Via Develop