Social game network Hi5 suffers 'significant' layoffs, pushes onward

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Hi5Hopefully not sounding too crass, but this is one of the unfortunate if efficient advantages of technology. TechCrunch reports that Hi5, a social game network looking to compete with Google+ Games and Facebook in 2012, has laid off 28 employees. The decision, confirmed by infamous pundit and Hi5 president and CTO Alex St. John, was made in response to new tech:

"We have also been building the next generation site in a new architecture, .NET framework, and have moved away from Open Source and Java technology," St. John told TechCrunch. "As we have recently turned the corner on our technology migration efforts we have been able to significantly reduce the number of positions required to support the older hi5 site and are in the process of re-organizing the company to focus entirely on the development and deployment of our next generation social play site."

Simply put, technological advances in how the future Hi5 website will work has led to automation in web support that was before handled by multiple employees. Since the new website can handle much of those tasks on its own, 28 of those full-time and contract workers were deemed no longer necessary. TechCrunch recalls this is far from the first time Hi5 has trimmed the fat, so to speak.

The company, originally a general-use social network, has since pivoted toward capitalizing on social gaming. Early next year, it will unveil its next generation social gaming network with 28 fewer people to celebrate, sadly. "The departing folks were very talented and we hated to let them go but our business is changing rapidly now," St. John said to TechCrunch. "We hope that other great companies in this area snap them up quickly."

Even with its automated enhancements, it will be interesting to see just whether Hi5 can hop into the ring with the big league players, Facebook and Google. Its strategy doesn't seem to be one of scale, so we're intrigued to see what's up St. John's sleeve. Regardless, best wishes to those 28 unfortunate folks--may you find super awesome gigs elsewhere.

What do you think of this news just as Hi5 prepares to enter its next phase of social gaming? Do you think the company could become a viable competitor to Facebook and Google in social games? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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