December 01, 2009 09:03 ET

Gaming Pioneer and WildTangent Founder Alex St. John Joins hi5 as President and Chief Technology Officer

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - December 1, 2009) - hi5 today announced Alex St. John, founder of one of the world's largest online gaming sites and a lead creator of Microsoft's DirectX gaming platform, has joined hi5 as President and Chief Technology Officer. In his new role at hi5, St. John will be responsible for product development, technology, network operations and audience acquisition -- spearheading the company's successful social gaming and entertainment strategy.

"We are very excited to add a gaming visionary like Alex to the hi5 team as we continue our evolution into becoming a dominant, next-generation social entertainment platform," said Bill Gossman, CEO, hi5. "Alex's background is a perfect fit for moving the company forward. His extensive experience and leadership in gaming platforms, traffic optimization, and game monetization make him a vital addition to the hi5 team."

As founder of WildTangent, St. John grew the company into the world's largest privately held gaming site and 5th-largest gaming property worldwide with over 30 million monthly unique visitors. St. John led several key revenue innovations at WildTangent, including a highly successful virtual currency, WildCoins, used for microcurrency transactions, and an advertising partnership with WPP to sell sponsored microcurrency to Fortune 500 brands. WildTangent's game studio produced over 100 downloadable, streaming and multiplayer games during his time at the company, and publishes over 200 third party games to its network a year. St. John also pioneered several technology innovations, including the WildTangent WebDriver, a browser plug-in for streaming 3D games, instant messenger based gaming for AOL and an extensive patent portfolio, including patents in online game streaming, in-game advertising, game compression, instant messenger based multiplayer gaming and DRM.

Prior to WildTangent, St. John was instrumental in creating Microsoft's DirectX media architecture, a suite of programming APIs for everything from 2D and 3D graphics, sound, video, multiplayer gaming and input control which became the basis for Microsoft's Xbox gaming OS. As Group Manager for Windows Media Strategy and Marketing at Microsoft, St. John led the company's successful strategy to make DirectX a leading gaming architecture. He also led the design and development of DirectPlay, which became the multiplayer architecture for Microsoft's casual game network, and managed the company's game developer programs.

"The next wave of innovation and differentiation in gaming is happening in social gaming and hi5 is at the forefront of this sea change," said St. John. "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. I'm thrilled to be joining a company that has the team, technology and vision to lead that transition."

About hi5 Networks

Founded in 2003, hi5 today is among the top 20 largest web sites in the world and the leading destination site focused on social gaming and entertainment. Combining a robust social platform with premium content and game mechanics, hi5 delivers a fun, expressive, and interactive entertainment experience to millions of users around the world. Available in over 50 languages, the site features localized games, virtual goods and other content that is monetized through hi5 Coins, a global virtual currency supporting over 60 payment methods and 30 currencies worldwide. For more information on hi5, visit

Contact Information

  • Media contact:
    Shelley Risk
    The Horn Group for hi5
    Email Contact