Social TV games platform developer PlayJam closed a $5 million first round of investment with participation from GameStop Digital Ventures, Adobe Ventures, Endeavour Ventures, London Venture Partners, and several unnamed “game industry luminaries.”
PlayJam’s platform provides developers an infrastructure similar to what we find in other web games portals and social networks: messaging support, monetization, score tracking, integration with Facebook and Twitter, etc. The key difference here is that PlayJam supplies the games on smart TVs manufactured by Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony. This distinction might not change the nature of the games themselves all that much (with the exception of improved graphics), but it could open up a new demographic for social game developers to monetize.
The press release announcing the funding states that PlayJam has seen over 6 billion downloads Pay TV platforms in the last five years, with more than 50% of customers paying for content at an average session time of 23 minutes. The release goes on to cite studies claiming that smart TVs will see an install base of over one billion devices by the end of 2015. According to some — like Crowdstar, which closed a $23 million round from Intel and Time Warner among other investors — smart TVs will be the next major platform for social game developers to conquer.
It’s interesting that GameStop is getting behind smart TV games. For the last year or so, the video game retailer has been proactive in exploring digital distribution options as physical sales of video games have declined and larger audiences have emerged in social and mobile gaming. Adobe’s involvement makes more sense to us, as the newly launched AIR 3 is compatible with smart TVs — making PlayJam’s platform the perfect test partner for the platform native extension support.
PlayJam intends to use this first round of funding to increase growth in Asian and U.S. markets. The company also recently announced partnerships with social and casual game developers Slingo, Puzzler and Relentless Software (longtime developer on Sony Computer Entertainment’s Buzz! franchise).