Kevin Bachus, one of the co-creators of Microsoft’s Xbox, has become Bebo’s new chief product officer to help the former social-networking giant find a new direction.
Bachus will head up product development for the site, which was sold by AOL in June for a mere $10m, $840m less than what it bought it for.
He believes that Bebo has two interesting points: its large, dedicated fanbase and an opportunity to grow it in different directions.
He pointed out that, since it was sold, it has now grown from 12 million monthly active users to 20 million monthly active users and said that out of the site’s total 117 million-user base, half of them visited Bebo in the last year.
Bachus has been involved with entertainment and gaming throughout his career. He joined Microsoft in 1997 as product manager for DirectX.
He’s best known as one of the people who, along with Seamus Blackley, Ted Hase and Otto Berkes, came up with the original concept for the Xbox console to compete with Sony’s PlayStation 2. He was also the Xbox’s first director of third-party relations.
He left the company before the Xbox was released and lead numerous gaming companies, including Capital Entertainment Group, Infinium Labs and Nival Interactive.
The social-networking arena is a different area, however, and Bachus is looking forward to shaping its future.
“The thing that frightens me in the social space is people look at it as one giant monolithic thing, where Facebook will dominate,” Bachus said.
“But it is really like the game industry, where people see the big companies and don’t see the nuances and the opportunities.
“It’s not a zero-sum game with just one winner. Social networking is in its infancy, and as the market matures, social networks like ours will find an area to specialise in,” he said.