Social network-turned gaming platform Friendster has announced today that it has signed an exclusive partnership with an independent game developer from Austria. Its collaboration with Pro 3 Games will see the Southeast Asia-focused network host and launch Starforce Delta FX across the region.

Established in Linz, Austria, the game development studio focuses on innovating social browser games. Their latest title, Starforce Delta, will be the first social browser role playing game under their portfolio. Supported on mobile platforms, the game revolves around combat missions in a sci-fi space setting.

Because this game is part of the Friendster Exclusive series (FX), it will offer premium Friendster-only offerings like unique in-game items, bonus in-game currency when gamers top up their game wallet, and having a dedicated game master allocated to provide assistance round-the-clock.

Friendster CEO Iannis Hanen expressed that they have been working with established content partners to feature premium exclusive game titles to serve their members. He added, “Besides providing a challenging gameplay for our users, which is of utmost importance, Starforce Delta FX is anticipated to have great potential in terms of monetization with Friendster coins, Friendster’s flagship virtual currency. Through this partnership with Pro 3 Games, we strive to continue to strengthen Friendster’s presence as one of the leading social discovery and gaming platform in Asia.”

Pro 3 Games CEO Alexander Seifert said that they are aiming to boost the popularity of the game in the region. “At the same time, it will help us to meet our business objectives with Friendster’s reliable payment channels in this region.”

Friendster’s great game of partnerships

I remember seeing this one commenter on our Facebook page asking rhetorically whether “Friendster still exists.” Many remember it for the popular social network it was a few years back. Back in the day, you were able to customize your profile with HTML codes and choose friends to feature. Now, as Facebook reigns over all — with what, 1.11 billion users? — Friendster has turned into a social discovery and gaming platform with about 115 million users.

Having based its website in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a whole lot of Friendster users are Southeast Asians, coming from either Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia or the Philippines. In a 2008 article published by TIME, Facebook president, Kent Lindstrom noted that “most of the world is outside of the U.S.” He also envisioned that there will be stiffer competition in Asia.

After announcing its collaboration with MOL Global in 2009, we have seen a few pieces of partnership news from Friendster. In Malaysia, there are Friendster Hotspots which provides anyone at various restaurants or cafes with free Wi-Fi in return for watching a video advertisement. Earlier this June, we reported on their working together with Kakao to bring the Korea-based company into Malaysia. Would we be hearing more from Friendster? Well, I think they’re starting to realize this “stiffer competition in Asia” and are pulling their socks up to gain user engagement, loyalty and deal with user acquisitions.