Friendster re-launched as social gaming platform in PH

Pioneering social networking site Friendster has been formally re-launched as a social gaming hub, making its final bet in a practically do-or-die situation.

Friendster chief operating officer Nikolai Galicia

The social website, which has Filipino Nikolai Galicia as its chief operating officer, picked the Philippines as the site of its re-launch since the country still hosts the majority of its users.

Galicia, along with top executives of MOL Global — the Malaysian Internet firm which bought Friendster in 2009 – gave a preview of the gaming site’s gaming features at a press launch in Greenbelt in Makati City on Wednesday.

The public outing of the site is set on April 27 at the SM North Cyberzone in Quezon City in an event dubbed “Friendster FunXtion.

Ganesh Kumar Bangah, MOL’s founder and group CEO, said during the press event that Friendster still has about 100 million subscribers and that 10 percent of that figure are active users.

Friendster currently has a line-up of about 50 games, said Bangah, who added that only third-parties create games on its platform. He said MOL does not subsidize game developers who get 70 percent of the game’s earnings.

The executive said they will announce soon a list of local retailers where gamers can buy their load ‘round-the-clock.

Unlike online games which merely has a social media component, Bangah said Friendster has an entire ecosystem – from games to contact list to the payment system – that supports a real social gaming experience.

Bangah said they are also developing a gaming strategy based on the Android operating system and HTML5 to allow its users to play the games across different platforms.

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