Friendster Re-launched as a Social Gaming Platform

In a media event in Kuala Lumpur today, social networking site Friendster officially announced its redesign as a social gaming platform that offers users an experience which enables social discovery, games and rewards in Malaysia following its global launch in Manila in April 2012.

Friendster’s games are free-to-play and for a more enhanced experience, Friendster’s in-game credits – Friendster Coins can be purchased to unlock more game features. The new platform also allows Facebook users to enjoy Friendster easily via the Facebook Connect button.

“We currently have 4 million unique active visitors every month and we are targeting to increase this number to 10 million a month by end 2012,” shared Ganesh Kumar Bangah, Group CEO of MOL Global.

Ganesh told OMGTech that the newly launched social gaming site is targeted to users between the age of 15-25 years old in countries such as Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and India. He added that new Friendster aims to generate revenue from online transaction(70%) and advertising(30%).

Friendster also launched its locally developed products Friendster Hotspots and Friendster iCafe during the media conference. Friendster Hotspots provide retail outlets with a free Wi-Fi infrastructure that is funded completely by advertising while Friendster iCafe is a free cybercafé management system integrating operations and accounts for ease of owner administration.

Friendster Hotspots is currently available in popular branded food & beverage outlets such as Starbucks, Old Town White Coffee, Kenny Rogers Roasters, Wendy’s, Krispy Kreme and Papa John’s. Nationwide, there are currently over 350 retail outlets using Friendster Hotspots with an average of 1.5 million unique users a month. 70% of Friendster Hotspots users are mobile users.

The Friendster iCafe, cybercafé management software features a system that manages time usage of computers, customers, game consoles, billing, security features and accounting facilities has already been used by over 400 cybercafé owners locally with over 150 million video and banner advertisements displayed monthly. Friendster is aiming to achieve over 1000 cybercafes with plans to expand both Friendster Hotspots and Friendster iCafe services to the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and India by end of 2012.

“Friendster Hotspots and Friendster iCafe will assist us to increase our user base in Malaysia that will contribute towards our 10 million target for 2012,” added Ganesh.

Further to the redesigned platform, Friendster also has a Developers Programme to encourage content developers to commercialise their games via Friendster.  Friendster presently has 56 massively multi-player online and social games on the platform and allows developers to monetize their game using Friendster Coins which is powered by MOL’s payment platform. Friendster Coins guarantees zero chargeback to its developers thus eliminating risk of fraud for developers.

“Besides global partners, we also want to help as many local developers promote their locally developed games on our platform. Friendster provides a valuable platform for Malaysian start-ups to reach a global audience while allowing the start-ups to monetise their content,” he concluded.

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