hi5, one of the largest and fastest growing social networks in many countries around the world, is launching a new casual social games section today called hi5 Games that’s deeply integrated with the rest of the hi5 experience.
hi5’s games library contains dozens of arcade, card, casino, sports, and strategy games created by developers like Arkadium and others. However, unlike other Flash portals on social networks, hi5 has integrated the games directly into the site’s communication channels and virtual currency system.
For example, each game has built in leaderboards, and hi5 is making it easy to play with friends by integrating messaging, challenge and invite features.
In addition, hi5 users can use “Coins” to purchase advanced gaming features. hi5 also says it will also be offering new advertising options on hi5 Games.
“For our target audience of 15 to 24 year-olds, social gaming represents a major expenditure of time and money around the globe. hi5 Games is just one of a range of immersive features that will further engage our users, both keeping them on the site longer and driving them towards new forms of monetization for our business,” said Ramu Yalamanchi, founder and CEO of hi5.
hi5 has taken a unique approach to monetization, combining advertising and virtual goods sales in a deeper way than many other western social networks. We’ll be keeping our eye on hi5 games as 2009 progresses!