MySpace is following Facebook’s lead into social gaming with a key new hire. The once dominant network has lured away LOLapps product manager Manu Rekhi, naming him the new general manager of MySpace Games and its attendant developer platform.
The company isn’t saying much yet about the hire, but it’s reasonable to expect that Rekhi will play a key role. Following a string of managerial shakeups (which continues today; SVP of marketing Angela Courtin just left), MySpace recently reset its priorities, making games a major focus — perhaps even as much as music used to be — with the release of the developer platform this year.
LOLapps, also, switched its focus to social games after first becoming successful with user-generated quizzes, so Rekhi has some applicable experience. He was also a product manager for Google working on OpenSocial and a few other Google products, including Orkut.
But MySpace has proven an insurmountable challenge to a number of other gifted execs, continuing to hemorrhage users to Facebook on other services over the past couple years despite their efforts. The News Corp. owned company also just announced its most recent loss: about $150 million in the first quarter of the year.
The bad news may prove beneficial for Rekhi’s job, since Rupert Murdoch seems to be readying for change at the social network. Speaking about the loss, Murdoch said that his company had made “big mistakes” over the past two or three years, implying that it was time for a turnaround.
And of course, MySpace has already made significant changes in the past couple months. The last big update, back in March, marked MySpace’s turn to a more game-centric design.
Ultimately, MySpace has many of the ingredients required to expand its significance to social game developers. It still has tens of millions of users, who are entertainment-focused, and who have a long history of forming loose, public friendships on the site. Its developer platform has already grown to be the second-largest social gaming platform behind Facebook, and it is still growing, as you can see from our look at its top 25 games from the past month. We’ll be covering its efforts to move forward.