Hi5 Beefs Up Social Games Platform with Purchase of Big Six

Hi5 has been transitioning from being a social network to becoming more of a social gaming platform for more than a year now, and it’s taking a step further through a new acquisition. The company has purchased Big Six, a 3 month old social game developer based out of Austin, Texas — it hasn’t launched anything yet, but it raised funding, and it was founded by a number of experienced game entrepreneurs.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but here’s some more about what’s going on. Big Six’s founders include Kevin Gliner, Monty Kerr and Chad Hansing, all of whom have years of experience building a range of games and gaming services, and expect them to apply their expertise at Hi5, specifically in terms of payments, fraud and conversion for its virtual goods.

Some more background, via VentureBeat. Gliner has held leadership roles at Cinematronics, Knockabout Games, WildTangent, Activision and Maxis, and will be Hi5’s new senior vice president of production. Kerr founded casual multiplayer game developer Red 5 Games and Glass Eye Entertainment, which makes widely used online gambling software; he also worked at Compulsive Development and founded Knockabout with Gliner.  He’ll be vice president of commerce and advertising platforms at Hi5. Hansing has been an executive with Kerr at Red 5, Glass Eye and also with Gliner at Knockabout.

The common thread here, as game industry veterans will know, is that they all have worked with Hi5’s new chief technology officer, Alex St. John, at one point or another in their careers. St. John helped develop the DirectX game platform for Microsoft, which led to its Xbox console. He served as a company game evangelist for years, then founded game platform and game advertising company WildTangent in 1998. Although WildTangent developed virtual goods and other aspects of today’s social games much earlier than most in this country, it has only recently gotten into social gaming — moving into the advertising offers business, as it announced earlier this week.

While Big Six brings some technology with the purchase, the big point, as Big Six told us this afternoon, is to refine Hi5’s virtual goods systems as it continues to expand its games, and third-party gaming platform. You could probably guess as much from the founders’ new titles; Hi5 isn’t saying any more about its future plans, although it says to stay tuned for more announcements in the next few weeks.