Like big-budget movies, video games can cost tens of millions of dollars and take years to produce.
Top game studios have strict, high-pressure deadlines, large development teams and lots of overhead costs. With so much at stake, publishers have become conservative, preferring to put the big development and marketing dollars behind a sure thing.
But a new marketplace for creative, offbeat and low-cost games has emerged with the latest generation of consoles.
Microsoft's Xbox 360, Nintendo's Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3 can all be connected to the Internet and the companies have developed networks over which games and other content is bought and sold.
Small, independent studios, such as Torpex Games, are emerging to create those games, and the console makers are scrambling to sign them up.