Digital Distribution – With Electronics Boutique to Sony’s PlayStation Network offering downloads on-demand, shopping’s never going to be the same.

Indie Titles – Quirky outings built by small teams and buoyed by word-of-mouth are to gaming what indie flicks are to Hollywood. Thanks to professional channels like Nintendo’s WiiWare and amateur-friendly vehicles such as Xbox Live’s Community Games, they’re poised to explode.

Serious Games – Companies like Persuasive Games and Impact Games are convinced games can promote peace and teach about the world.

Social Networking – From Zynga’s Facebook/MySpace-friendly gaming applications to Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s user-generated content and LittleBigPlanet’s community features, get ready to connect.

Scott Steinberg is the author of free-to-download Get Rich Playing Games (