Friendster, the long-time social networking site, which was purchased by Asian payment company MOL Global late last year, is moving away from its roots as a general social networking site. MOL Global CEO Ganesh Bangah told Philippine reporters this week that his company is planning to transform the site into a “social gaming portal,” which will feature hundreds of games, according to a report in the Philippine English language daily Philippine Star.
A spokesman tells us that the site’s new platform — which it is calling Project Neutron and which will be ready next year — “will provide users with a simple, easy-to-get virtual currency that can be used to purchase virtual goods, online games and applications, and other products and services over the web.” That fits with MOL Global’s position as a major provider of payment services in Asia, where Friendster now has its biggest presence.
It also likely explains some of Friendster’s strategic moves since being bought up by MOL Global, including its increased ties to Facebook, which will no longer be as much of a direct competitor after the site’s overhaul. MOL Global recently sold Friendster’s entire patent portfolio to Facebook and also announced a deal with Facebook earlier this summer to distribute gift cards in several Asian countries that people will be able to redeem for Facebook Credits.