Millions of Canadians have downloaded free chess games on the Internet.
Now, the company behind the games says the trend will soon die down.
“I would be very disappointed if we didn’t see an uptick in those downloads within the next year or two,” said Alex Dehn, a senior vice-president with the company that runs the free chess service.
“As people play more online, we’ll see more and more people turn to free chess, whether it’s for free or for a donation.”
Free chess games are designed to appeal to a younger, more casual audience than traditional games.
The online versions, which cost $4.99, require no subscription.
But they’re also being seen by people who want a more competitive experience.
“It’s a great alternative for people who have not been able to find an online chess game in the past, and the free version is a great way to try out a new game,” said Andrew Boudreau, a 21-year-old student at the University of British Columbia who has downloaded one of the free Chess Club games on Steam.
Boudreau has been playing Chess Club for about two weeks, playing against other players around the world and earning points for placing in tournaments.
He says he has become accustomed to playing against strangers, but it’s a new experience.
It’s not just a hobby, he says.
“I’m actually a bit of a gamer now.
I have a Facebook page, I play online games.”
Boudrier says his goal is to make a profit and make more of the games available.
Chess Club has been downloaded over 20 million times, and he’s currently working on a new version of the game, which is expected to launch in the fall.
The company has seen a decline in downloads from around the country, and Dehn says it’s not going to disappear.
“The game has been a great success, and it’s something we’ll continue to grow.
We’re in a position where we can afford to continue to make the game and make the money back, which we can do.”
But the company is worried about the trend, and said it plans to take steps to make sure people don’t lose money on Chess Club.
Dehn says Chess Club is designed for a younger audience than the traditional versions of chess.
It’s the only free version of Chess Club that supports multiple players, and has a limit of 25 games.
He said the company will be offering free games for a month in July, and will be adding more in the coming months.
Dehm says the free versions of Chess Clubs are also being watched by people looking to play with a friend online.
He also thinks the free games will eventually go away for the foreseeable future, but he hopes other companies will follow his lead.
“If people have no interest in playing chess online, then it’s going to die down in a couple of years,” he said.
The CBC’s Sophie LeBlanc is in London to cover the launch of the Chess Club digital platform.