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Hi5's new owner shuts down its third-party dev platform

"Social discovery" site Tagged revealed today that it will shut down the third-party game program for its recently-acquired Hi5 network, and will replace the current games roster with a suite of internally developed titles.
It's been just over a month since "social discovery" network Tagged bought the assets for the gaming-focused Hi5, and already some major changes are coming to the newly acquired platform. Most notably, Tagged plans to shut down Hi5's third-party game platform, replacing the current games roster with titles developed internally at Tagged. Speaking to TechCrunch, Tagged's VP of sales and marketing Steve Sarner said that Hi5's third-party program "wasn't nearly as vibrant as we felt it could be or should be." Along with these new changes, Tagged hopes to transform Hi5 into a site that more closely resembles the existing Tagged.com. In fact, Sarner said that the site will become "a Tagged.com experience with a Hi5 wrapper" within six to eight weeks. Currently, Tagged positions itself as a social networking service that helps users meet new people through social games, customizable profiles, virtual gifts, and other services. Tagged has not specified exactly which of these features Hi5 will adopt. Though the two sites will become even more similar, however, Sarner said the brands will remain separate entities -- at least, that's the plan for the foreseeable future. "We think that in the short- and mid-term, running two separate brands makes sense,” Sarner said. “We don’t want to completely alienate the current userbase. In the long-term, there's certainly an opportunity for merging the brands." While Tagged owns the full rights to Hi5 and all of its assets, its purchase in mid-December did not include any of the company's previous staff, though a number of Hi5 veterans are still working for the company on a contract basis.

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