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GDC Online: Hi5 Debuts SocioPath Social Gaming Platform

Social network Hi5 announced its beta launch for SocioPath, which it describes as "a next generation social gaming platform" designed for developers with viral audience acquisition in mind.
Social network Hi5 announced its beta launch for SocioPath, which it describes as "a next generation social gaming platform" designed with viral audience acquisition in mind. "Social media game developers and publishers are facing significant barriers to drive audience and revenue on social networks, and are struggling under the restrictions imposed on them by these portals," says the company's president and CTO Alex St. John, formerly the head of WildTangent. St. John has criticized Facebook a number of times both by name and by implication for shutting down viral channels that some titles depended on for acquiring and re-engaging players. Since the rival social network restricted "notification spam" from apps, audiences for the the site's most popular games have diminished noticeably. Hi5 says SocioPath is meant to "free social game developers from their dependence on social networking portals for viral audience acquisition", and has announced several developer partners for its beta program: BigPoint, Digital Chocolate, Playdom, Casual Collective, Portalarium, Slingo, TheBroth, Sneaky Games, HitPoint Studios, Minsh, and HeyZap. The company has ramped up its social gaming strategy in the past year, hiring of St. John last December, purchasing social games firm Big Six, creating Facebook-compatible APIs that enable developers to port their Facebook titles to hi5, and raising $14 million in July to fund its social gaming and virtual goods expansion plans. It also recently launched a new developer portal meant to assist creators with integrating their content into Hi5, as well as new viral channels designed to help developers drive audience acquisition and monetization for their games. St. John adds, "We're providing a platform that enables social game developers and publishers to be liberated from the walled garden social network, build their own communities around their games, and monetize them efficiently."

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