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GDC: hi5 Launches Game Dev Program To Attract Studios, Exclusive Titles

Social network hi5 announced a new Game Developer Program designed to attract studios to its platform by offering benefits like marketing/promotion, access to its virtual currency systems, revenue share on ads, and more.
As part of its recent efforts to compete against rival social networks Facebook and MySpace in the thriving social games space, hi5 has announced a new Game Developer Program designed to encourage developers to release games to its platform by offering various promotion, distribution, and monetization benefits. The Game Developer Program will provide developers who release their games exclusively on hi5 with a free marketing and promotion package comprised of free banner ads, placement on the hi5 Games page, inclusion on the hi5 Games tool bar, user recommendations, and more. hi5 says it will allow partners to receive a share of advertising revenue generated from their games, too. Select developers will receive access to the hi5 coins payment interface, the site's virtual currency system for in-game microtransactions, which offers more than 60 payment systems through 30 currencies. The site notes that its system allows studios to avoid the technical and business development work required for integrating other payment systems into their titles. Developers working on the platform will have access to game-specific AIs for incorporating user profiles, user achievements, and high scores into their titles. They can also use the social network's newly announced Facebook-compatible APIs, which enable developers to take their games initially created for Facebook and run them on hi5 with "little to no revisions". "To date, social games have been distributed on open platforms competing against thousands of other titles with nothing but their own spamminess to get them discovered," says hi5's recently appointed CTO and president Alex St. John, formerly CEO and founder of casual gaming studio WildTangent. He adds, "As the market has saturated, getting noticed has become more and more difficult and expensive, particularly for smaller developers. hi5’s new Game Developer Program solves this problem by providing great games with free promotion, rapid audience acquisition and favorable revenue share for new content on hi5.com."

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