Wednesday, May 16, 2007

ICC Eats Up Rivals

We have Chess Ninja to thank for this one. The Internet Chess Club (ICC) recently acquired two competitors, WCN and Chess Live. Those two will now instead form one entity they call World Chess Live. The new WCL site may be accessible but it looks like formal services won't commence until 29 May.

Press releases are here, here and here.

I guess this move isn't really surprising. It's what tends to happen in a marketplace with an ambitious player right from the get go. By the way, and I know this is a re-run for many of our well-informed readers, this article by Brad Stone on the history of ICC is worth reading.

I did have some experience with WCN (none with CL), thanks to our friend Goran Urosevic who kindly gave me a free gold subscription, and it was always hard to imagine them lasting for much longer. If Joel Berez, ICC CEO, is to be believed - WCN's memberships have been recently declining. No surprise there. Out of my 3 services - Playchess, ICC and WCN - this last chess server was by far the least of my faves and after a short period of addiction, I eventually gave up. My special problem was with the interface: it wasn't very friendly and reminded me of the old Yahoo! chess UI, very "cartoony". Plus the community on WCN wasn't quite as noisy as I saw on ICC and Playchess. Those remaining WCN members can count themselves lucky; you guys are moving to better services.

All this makes me wonder what Playchess' next move will be, if any. Or maybe there's nothing to worry about. After all, a lot of people, like myself, would have dual memberships.

4 comments:

Goran said...

Adding new features to WCN software was a nightmare. Server code is like black box, no one knows what's in there. And marketing was on ameteur level.

I'll miss the nice WCN board, but ICC tech is trying to make a similar one to work on Dasher.

The community was actually WCN's biggest value and that's what ICC management wants to achieve on WCL.

See you on ICC :)

Chris said...

Long live FICS!

For someone who is just an average 1500-1600 player why would you want to pay money to play people on line?

If I was 2100 I could see the value in subscribing to ICC,but seeing as I'm not I wont be handing them $100 dollars a year.

Schurick said...

Nice title... "ICC Eats Up" :)

I can't agree with you that WCN client wasn't very friendly... Compared to Blitzin it was far more user-friendly.

Graphics, matter of taste. But, I really can't wait to see ICC techs implementing WCN's board...

I agree with Goran... In some aspects WCN was behind... What really was distinguishing it from waste majority of servers - an atmosphere. In this sense playhcess.com is losing the battle.

2Chris, one year ICC membership costs $59.95... Not 100.

And one year membership for students is $29.95... I believe that subscription to ICC is worth that...

I am afraid, that ICC's subscription is also declining. I have no numbers... Just my personnel impression about how long it takes now to find an opponent in my rating range at chessclub.com

I hope that we shall see soon a new generation of interface at WCL site.

And last thing... More chess servers exist - more diversity and competition we (chessplayers) will have...

And the latest thing. Question...
What do you think if players who over-the-board games are being broadcasted on chess servers, would receive some type of payment from internet audience?

chris said...

Schurick...you are thinking in US dollars. I'm thinking in australian dollars! lol.

Players being paid for broadcasted games?
Cant see that happening,particulary with the culture of "grandmaster" draws being so prevelant.