Hi5 Launches Game Developer Program at GDC
March 10, 2010

Hi5 Launches Game Developer Program at GDC

San Francisco, Calif. - Hi5, the largest social entertainment site focused on gaming, announced a new Game Developer Program designed to accelerate user adoption and revenue generation of social and online games. Hi5 president and CTO Alex St. John, provided details of the program in a dedicated session at GDC.
“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. As the market has saturated, getting noticed has become more and more difficult and expensive, particularly for smaller developers,” says Alex St. John, president and CTO, hi5. “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.”

For select game developers, the program offers:
· Free marketing and promotion -- hi5 provides a package of free banner ads, placement on the hi5 Games page, inclusion on the hi5 Games tool bar, user recommendations, and more for new games launched exclusively on hi5.com
· Access to hi5 Coins payment interface -- Developers can harness the hi5 Coins virtual currency system for in-game micropayments, tapping into over 60 payment methods and 30 currencies worldwide
· Revenue share on premium advertising -- In addition to direct payments, partners participate in advertising revenue generated from games.
· Increased user adoption -- Through one-click automatic game installs, notifications in hi5 Friend Updates, and open viral channels
· Minimal technology integration -- Just announced last week, hi5 now provides a set of Facebook compatible APIs, only accessible to Game Developer Program partners
· Access to game-specific APIs -- Games may integrate with user profiles and persist user achievements and high scores to profile pages

“Hi5’s Game Developer Program is a perfect launch boost for any new game title,” says Steve Victorino, president and COO of Immortal Games, a charter partner in hi5’s Game Developer Program which will be launching a social version of the successful simulation game, Build-a-Lot, for an exclusive period on hi5 later this spring. “By distributing on hi5, we have been able to focus on building a great game, knowing that initial promotion, user adoption and monetization are under control.”

A critical aspect for small and mid-size developers, is integration to, and revenue share from, hi5’s ubiquitous virtual currency system, hi5 Coins. Through a single payments interface, developers can avoid the technical and business development work necessary to integrate to dozens of payment systems. Detonator Games’ DetoNation went live on hi5 this week with integration to hi5 Coins.

"We would have spent months building out the necessary infrastructure to collect payments around the world. That would have delayed our product launch and taken us away from what we love to do – which is making fun games," says Matt Wilson, founder and director of development for Detonator Games. "We used hi5's currency API and were able to immediately plug into 60 payment methods worldwide through a single point of integration."

Partners in the hi5 Game Developer Program can also leverage hi5’s recently announced Facebook compatible interfaces, effectively eliminating the integration effort necessary to distribute games built to Facebook Platform on hi5. Exponential Enterainment’s HollywoodPlayer game was initially launched on Facebook, but was easily deployed on hi5 after an afternoon of testing.

“We wanted the additional audience and distribution reach on hi5, but we didn’t have the development resources to deploy HollywoodPlayer to multiple social platforms,” says Dave Long, CEO and co-founder of Exponential Entertainment. “The availability of hi5’s Facebook compatible APIs has made it much more efficient and cost-effective to launch new HollywoodPlayer games simultaneously on both networks.”

To support the new program, hi5 has created a game developer Web site at http://www.hi5.com/developer. Information about the Game Developer Program, including a form for submitting games, can be found at http://www.hi5networks.com/partners/gdp.html.