Social network hi5 appointed Alex St. John, the outspoken founder and former CEO for online games network WildTangent, as its new president and chief technology officer, responsible for the company's product development, technology, network operations and audience acquisition.
Established in 2003, hi5 claims more than 60 million users worldwide, a fraction of Facebook's 325 million users but enough to make the site one of the top 20 largest in the world. The company hopes to grow its presence in the social gaming space, launching a series of titles like The Legend of Spirehold
and Organized Crime
St. John said in a statement, "The next wave of innovation and differentiation in gaming is happening in social gaming and hi5 is at the forefront of this sea change."
Last year, he stepped down from WildTangent, the company he founded in 1998 due to 'personal reasons'. During his time there, he helped grow the network's audience to 30 million monthly active users and predicted the death
of video game consoles, declaring online PC gaming as their successor. Prior to WildTangent, he helped create DirectX and was a games evangelist at Microsoft.
In conjunction with his new job announcement, St. John reiterated his stance on console gaming. "I have long said that the current generation of game consoles will be the last and that the future of the game business will be online."
"Alex's background is a perfect fit for moving the company forward," added hi5 chief Bill Gossman. "His extensive experience and leadership in gaming platforms, traffic optimization, and game monetization make him a vital addition to the hi5 team."