Static 2358 Offers Free Access to PlayJam Interactive TV Games on Sky, Partners with Puzzler Media

Static 2358, the company behind the pioneering interactive TV games service, PlayJam (note: Static 2358 and PlayJam were acquired by OpenTV in 2001; they were re-purchased in early 2008 by their founder, Jasper Smith), contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that it will be providing free access to some of the most popular PlayJam titles on the Sky platform, and will also be introducing new PlayJam games from puzzle publisher, Puzzle Media. According to the company, this is the first time that PlayJam has given viewers completely free access to so many of its games, since its launch on the Sky platform back in 2000: viewers are usually required to purchase a day pass to play its games.

Static 2358 says that it has struck an exclusive global distribution deal with Puzzler Media that will see it offering a series of games on PlayJam within a dedicated Puzzler-branded zone. The Puzzler zone will initially be launched on Sky, according to the company, and will subsequently be rolled out across PlayJam's entire network. According to Static 2358, PlayJam is continually developing and aggregating games for its global audience, and all of those games have global rights clearance. Puzzler claims that its Puzzler magazine accounts for 60% of the total puzzle magazine market in the UK. The company has also licensed a number of products, including a Nintendo DS game, PC CD titles, pub terminal games, books, and mobile apps (note: it recently launched titles on the iPad and iPhone). Its puzzles include Crosswords, Sudoku, Wordsearches, Kriss Kross, Codewords and Arrowords. It also syndicates puzzles to national and regional newspapers and consumer and business publications.

According to Static 2358, PlayJam's global interactive TV games network encompasses connected TV platforms from Sony and Samsung, the Sky (UK), Freeview (UK), DISH Network (US), Dish TV (India) and UPC (Netherlands) multichannel platforms, and Antix Labs' game player for mobiles. The company says that it is also working with Rovi to incorporate a PlayJam service into the latter's EPG's. It bills PlayJam as "the only games service that brings TV and social networks into play": the service incorporates chat and messaging functionality, and it allows viewers to accumulate points in an account for every game played and then redeem those points for prizes. "We believe casual games will be a key revenue driver for connected devices so we're aiming to entice new PlayJammers by making access to many of our 600 games free," Jasper Smith said in a prepared statement. "We're really pleased to be partnering with Puzzler, enabling us to offer a much wider range of quality games content that customers are prepared to pay for alongside the free offering. It is interesting to note that in an era of declining UK magazine sales, puzzle titles are one of the only sectors experiencing growth." Added Tony Ablewhite, Puzzle Media's brand development manager: "Given PlayJam's connected gaming experience and our extensive range of quality puzzle content, this is seen very much as a partnership in developing not only family-favorite puzzles such as Wordsearch, Crosswords, Kriss Kross and Sudoku formats, but also a range of new and exciting puzzle formats. It also strengthens our global reach, building on both our casual and traditional puzzling developments, including our successful handheld console game 'Puzzler World.' We very much look forward to working with PlayJam in the development and delivery of quality puzzles that appeal to both male, female, and children of all ages."