22/03/2013 14:54 GMT | Updated 21/05/2013 06:12 BST

Downloads, E-Books and Computer Games Still Seen as Second Best to Old World Retail

Despite the growth of online markets and digital applications the mark of success is still "getting off" the Internet and into "the real world" a gathering of publishers and tech start-ups has been told.

Author, comedian and gamer Charlie Higson said despite a £74billion gaming industry and rise in music download sales, digital sales were still seen as a forerunner to conventional retail success.

He cited the success of Call of Duty - Black Ops, which despite outselling the top DVDs and CDs, still shifted a million less units than erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey.

He said: "You can lose perspective on the digital world. The mark of success is still getting off the Internet and into the real world.

"Fifty Shades of Grey was toted as an Internet success story, but I like most people I know came to it when it was a book.

"The back story about it being a hit e-book was just a nice marketing tool.. and two thirds of the sales were old fashioned books."

Speaking at Four Colman Getty's Off The Page networking event at the Groucho Club in Soho, Higson added: "Nobody knows what the media landscape is going to look like, and a lot of people are scared. New media is sort of crashing up against old analogue.

"There is a generation of kids now growing up interfacing with the digital world."

He said it was a good thing that kids played computer games as they were an important part of the modern world, but they should also be reading books and going out playing football.

"There are fantastic opportunities for new technology to drive media," he said. "The big explosion in the gaming world of the creation of tablet and iPhones as gaming devices is what's exciting kids out there now.

"They are not growing up with books but with screens.

"And one of those kids is going to come up with something completely new; not a film not a book. It's got to be something new that works in that format. And it will make them very rich."

Megan Goodwin-Patel, from Interactive Rights Management, said: "The whole market is based around the need to respond. You launch with 30% of your budget and use the rest to develop.

"There is an opportunity in enhanced e-books. Books aren't dead, TV is not dead and music is not dead."

But game book author Dave Morris told the meeting fantasy books could no longer compete with video games.

"Moving mages are just more compelling," he said. "Games are more compelling than choose your own adventure books."