Interactive television games company PlayJam is developing a widget to be available on selected internet-enabled televisions later in the year. It will provide a slicker user experience than on existing satellite television platforms. PlayJam has also released one of its puzzle titles for the iPhone.

PlayJam launched almost a decade ago at the dawn of digital television. It started life as a side project of the visual media company Static 2358 which was developing games to work on satellite television set-top boxes.

The first PlayJam games channel was broadcast in 2000 on Canal Sat in France, followed by a second channel shortly after on Sky in the United Kingdom.

The following year interactive television software company OpenTV acquired Static for $59 million in cash and stock. PlayJam was re-acquired by founder Jasper Smith in early 2008.

PlayJam is available in over 35 million TV homes across the world on satellite television platforms like Sky in the United Kingdom and Dish in the United States. It also provides games directly from its web site. Its 500 or so games have generated more than 8 billion downloads over the last five years.

A selection of the most popular PlayJam games will be developed for the widget framework established by Yahoo! and Intel, designed for internet enabled televisions with an ‘always on’ network connection. They will include simple casual games and puzzles, as well as competitions and instant win formats, subject to local laws.

The PlayJam widget will offer an enhanced user experience over its traditional interactive broadcast platform by providing faster and simpler access to key features such as accounts, leader boards, saved games and competition entry.

Jasper Smith, the chief executive of PlayJam said it is exciting to be at the forefront of the internet-enabled television era. “Bringing a more engaging PlayJam experience to millions of TV sets in multiple countries will significantly fuel further usage of the service,” he said.

PlayJam is also creating iPhone versions of some of its most popular games, which will available for download from the Apple application store for a small one-off payment.

“The iPhone’s mobility alongside it’s increased graphics and touch screen capabilities offers the perfect PlayJamming environment,” according to the PlayJam chief executive. “Tapping into the mobile gaming audience will significantly increase our core customer base.”