With over a decade of experience delivering games on television, PlayJam sees a big future in connected television. The company has established relationships with leading consumer electronics companies, including Samsung and LG, to deliver its games on their Smart TV and Blu-ray player products. Following the evolution of apps on smart phones and media tablets, we expect to see an explosion of interest in casual games on the television screen.
PlayJam has launched its Global Games Service for Samsung Smart TV. It follows a similar announcement with LG Electronics earlier in the year. The service offers a mix of its own games and titles from leading brands, providing access to hundreds of casual and social games through the remote control on network-connected television devices and displays.
“I have a fundamental belief that games on TV will evolve in to a huge commercial opportunity and our combined aim is simply to provide the best games experience possible to our customers,” said Jasper Smith, the chief executive of PlayJam. “To help make that a reality we offer great game developers simple access to our global games network,” he continued. “TV has some extraordinary advantages over the web and mobile, and the ability to make stand out formats has never been greater.”
Having originally trained as a sculptor, Jasper Smith is no stranger to interactive television, having founded the development company Static 2358 at the dawn of the digital television era. The company created the PlayJam brand to produce casual games for set-top boxes and launched in 1999 on CanalSat in France and Sky Digital in the United Kingdom as one of the first interactive television broadcast channels. Static and PlayJam were sold to Open TV in 2001 for $68 million.
PlayJam languished within OpenTV until Jasper bought back a majority stake in 2008, seeing new distribution opportunities through broadband. The focus with PlayJam is now on the shift to cloud gaming though smart televisions.
The PlayJam games network aims to promote social engagement, customer loyalty and increased revenue through platform features such as recommendations, virtual currencies, cross-network tournaments, leader-boards, real-time mass participation events. PlayJam is creating a software development kit to facilitate global games distribution on television.
The emergence of apps on mobile and tablet devices has demonstrated the enormous potential of casual games. Similar capabilities are now coming to the television screen, promising new opportunities. Notably, it will be possible to play games using handheld screens while viewing them on a large high-definition display, and to maintain profiles across different devices.