shutting down

Three months after it launched, social games platform is reportedly shutting down. We were originally alerted to this by an anonymous source, but founder Alex St. John confirmed the closure.

Magi grew out of the remains of Hi5, which was at one point billed as the third-biggest social network on the internet.  St. John ran Hi5 as president and CTO from 2009 until he sold its assets to Tagged in December 2011; the company then tried to reboot itself as a platform capable of competing with Facebook on the social games scene. Magi saw promising user numbers when it launched and St. John tells us traffic was doubling each month, but the company was unable to raise the funds necessary to keep stay active.

We got to spend some time with the platform when it launched in March. Magi was designed to let users play Facebook games, but hosted these titles on its own and eschewed forcing users to give the games access to their Facebook accounts. In fact, the format we were shown didn’t always players to pay for hard currency items. While the site did have its own hard currency system in place, it could monetize non-paying users by showing video ads. At the time we saw the platform in operation, St. John told us Magi would use an algorithm to play ads for users who weren’t likely to spend money. If a player didn’t want to watch the video ad, though, they could instead skip it and then pay hard currency for an item. Magi also rewarded users with “Mojo” points when they played games; Mojo could then be used to bid on real world prizes within the site’s Mojo Market.

At the time of writing, Magi’s site is still up. Our source says approximately 20 engineers from the team are out of work. St. John tells us everyone on the development team received both severance pay and PTO, while the company’s executive team is trying to find new positions for former staff members. He also says that any recruiters looking for engineers or site producers should contact him directly on LinkedIn, and that he won’t begin another venture until he’s made sure everything at Magi is packed up and his team is employed elsewhere.