These games go from the Web straight to your console

Many experts predict episodic gaming will become a preferred alternative to packaged store-bought games. "You're dealing with smaller, value-priced pieces of content that are easy to download, and you don't have to wait years for the next chapter," says analyst Billy Pidgeon with technology research firm IDC.

"Think of it as the television model opposed to the movie model. Digital delivery is where it's going, so publishers who want to wait and release something astonishing every two or more years might be left behind," Pidgeon says. "Downloadable games are also ideal for smaller publishers to compete with the big boys."

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