As a young amateur game programmer myself, I found this article to be extremely fascinating. The account of the development process was quite enlightening. Finding those desync bugs sounded invigoratingly difficult. I have thought about the difficulties of deterministic multiplayer, setting the floating point control word and all that delightful complexity, so I can get a dim picture of the task you guys faced. I was surprised that so few people worked on the development team. I guess it is possible to produce a AAA title without a $100 million budget and a 50-80 member development team.
Also, I agree that digital distribution is the way to go for the initial release. Later on, when the game has stabilized, you can release a phisical version for those who want it, like you have done with the collector's edition.
I am also happy, like Timmaigh above, that Rebellion has done so well, as this means plenty of money for the eventual development of Sins II, in a few year perhaps.
P.S. If you are free to reveal it, did you use a shadow mapping method for the shadows? Cascaded? Or perhaps a more optimized solution, because you only see shadows that fall on ships, so a naive shadow map would waste a ton of memory on empty space...hm...