CCP Games is announcing today that it has created a social networking platform for its Eve Online sci-fi game universe. The platform will let friends talk and share with each other even when they’re not inside the virtual world.

The Eve Gate platform is a web front-end for the game, which has more than 350,000 paying subscribers. Reykjavik, Iceland-based CCP is also launching an expansion section for its massively multiplayer online game. The expansion, dubbed Eve Online: Tyrannis, is the 13th such expansion since the game launched in 2003.

The sci-fi universe has more than 7,500 star systems that players can visit, as well as a virtual economy for buying and selling goods. The world has 65,000 planets that haven’t even been discovered yet.

The new social network is a test of whether a seven-year-old online world can adapt to the new ways of users who have become obsessed with Facebook and Twitter. The Eve Gate will include a mail and calendar system that lets you post updates to your contacts, corporation members, and alliances. The company hopes players will use the new platform to organize more activities on their own in the game.

CCP has made an interesting choice in creating its own social network to avoid ceding control of its users to another social network, such as Facebook. CCP was founded in 1997. The company has 350 to 400 employees and competes with such rivals as Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. Investors include Novator and General Catalyst Partners. The company raised $2.6 million in 2000.