Burlingame, Calif. -- Alex St. John cofounded online gaming outfit WildTangent in 1998. The company pioneered micro-currency payment systems in which players use real dollars to pay for virtual gold coins for game playing; the other option: opt-in to watching advertisements. In December St. John jumped to the chief technology officer job at Hi5, a social networking Web site that has been more successful in Latin America, Europe and Asia than in the U.S., where it ranks below Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Classmates.com.
He believes gaming is moving to social networks, and that this means Microsoft ( MSFT - news - people ) and Nintendo ( NTDOY.PK - news - people ) won't release new versions of their game consoles. Microsoft in June debuted Project Natal, a motion controller for the Xbox, which could be a way to extend the shelf life of the console. Forbes chatted with St. John to get his view on the convergence of gaming and social networks.