Social networking group hires the outspoken innovator

hi5 taps industry veteran St. John

Planning a strong push into the games sector, social network hi5 has hired outspoken industry veteran Alex St. John as president and chief technology officer.

Until late last year, St. John was CEO of online gaming destination WildTangent. Previously, he was a Microsoft bigwig, whose credits include co-creating DirectX. His responsibilities at the San Francisco-based hi5 will include product development, technology and audience acquisition.

He commented, "The next wave of innovation and differentiation in gaming is happening in social gaming and hi5 is at the forefront of this sea change. I’ve long said that the current generation of game consoles will be the last and that the future of the game business will be online."

Although a minnow compared to Facebook, hi5 has 60 million unique monthly users, and an avowed strategy to grow via community-based videogames. Back in 2008, St. John predicted to MCV that "the retail business for boxed games will completely dry up".

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