hi5, one of the world’s most popular social networks, has been actively remodeling its site to cater to the gaming industry. Last fall, the social network launched a totally revamped site that places a much stronger emphasis on games and virtual currency, along with a new avatar system. Today, the company is furthering this strategy with the acquisition of social gaming developer Big Six. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. See the full release below.
Big Six’s founders, Kevin Gliner, Monty Kerr and Chad Hansing, will join the hi5 management team. Hi5 says the deal will boost the social networks efforts in developing in commerce platforms and payment processing offerings. Right now, gaming is a central part of hi5′s strategy for growth so it makes sens for the social network to acquire innovative technologies and talent. The games section of hi5′s site accounts for around 1/3 of the site’s traffic, and direct user payments through the game already account for 15% of hi5’s revenue.
Apart from the currency and payments technology, Big Six’s social gaming platform will also become part of hi5. With the massive success of Zynga and Playfish, it makes sense that hi5 would try to create a social network that centers around gaming itself. hi5 has over 60 million members, which is a far cry from Facebook’s 400 million users.
In December, hi5 brought on a new president, gaming industry veteran, Alex St. John, to help lead the social network’s efforts. Earlier in the year, the company suffered from layoffs and also hired a new CEO, Bill Gossman.
hi5, the largest social entertainment site focused on gaming, today announced the acquisition of social gaming company Big Six. The Austin-based company was founded by gaming veterans Kevin Gliner, Monty Kerr and Chad Hansing, all of whom will join the hi5 management team, as announced separately today.
The deal enhances hi5’s growing leadership in commerce for virtual goods and games. Building on hi5’s current commerce platform, which includes a global virtual currency called hi5 Coins, support for over 60 payment methods worldwide, and new advertising-based transactional capabilities – the Big Six acquisition brings significant new technology and software platforms in the areas of payment processing, fraud detection and conversion optimization. In addition to its proprietary commerce platform, Big Six also designed a social gaming platform which will become part of the core hi5 site.
“The Big Six team and technology are a perfect complement to what we have already developed at hi5,” said Bill Gossman, CEO of hi5. “Over the last two years, we have made a substantial investment in building out the industry’s most robust commerce infrastructure for virtual goods and gaming and this acquisition will considerably augment both our commerce platform and domain expertise.”
“We are excited to be joining a company that shares our philosophy and vision for how social gaming will evolve,” said Kevin Gliner, co-founder and CEO, Big Six. “This deal is a perfect match because it enables us to accelerate our go-to-market plans by leveraging hi5’s huge global audience.”
Founded in 2003, hi5 today is one of the largest social entertainment sites in the world, with approximately 50 million monthly unique visitors who use the site to stay connected to friends, meet new people, share photos, and play games. Available in over 50 languages, hi5 combines ad-supported social networking features with payment-based premium content to deliver a user experience focused on self-expression and interactivity that appeals to the site’s young demographic (67% of users are age 18-34). Social games, virtual goods, and other premium content on...