I promised an article about a game company that is pushing the envelope. Paul Hyman wrote the original long article, which was called “Startups experiment with online distribution”, I am just going to mention few pointers. This company is called Telltale Games. They believe that in coming years, games will increasingly take the place of TV as a family or friends gather together to play and advance game episodes.
Businesswise they are using the old credit card and download combination but the variation comes in form of episodic gaming. Player would order the game in episodes, therefore lowering the single purchase price and allowing players to tip their toes to the water. If one grows bored with the series, one can stop ordering further episodes. To me this sounds reasonable enough.
According to the article, this kind of game production benefits from the scale of operation, because once the basic framework is done, episodes just need to have new plots and puzzles. Playtime for one episode would be around 4 hours and production costs set somewhere near half a million dollars.
In the article Paul Hyman mentions few other companies, so check it from Google to see if it still is in circulation.