After counting the number of players on the FIDE Rating List - January 2017, what more can I say about it? First, let's list the national federations that had the largest increase in number of players. While I'm at it, let's just do the same sort of chart that I used in last year's post, FRL - January 2016. That's the top half of the table shown below,
Left: Increase in players; Right: New federations
The 'new federations' include a couple that had their codes changed, Lebanon and Singapore.
FIDE Online Arena (FOA) Titles
FOA, which stands for 'FIDE Online Arena', is a column on the January 2017 FRL that must have been introduced in the past year. The bottom half of the table shows the values stored for FOA, which are obviously titles corresponding to the traditional GM, IM, etc.
Left: Rating ranges for FOA titles; Right: Count of FOA titles by federation
The FOA home page, FIDE Online Arena (aka arena.myfide.net), explains,
FIDE titles for the Lower Rating Band In order to support the players' private online gaming and the active local chess communities, the top players of which have not reached the traditional Master level, FIDE announces the new Arena titles for the average amateur performance between 1100 and 2000 Elo points. These titles can be achieved online by the members of FIDE Online Arena, and obtained by direct Paypal payment without any application from the player's National Federation.
The titles of Arena Grand Master, Arena International Master, Arena FIDE master and Arena Candidate Master are the same for men and women, they are registered on the player's profile card on FIDE website, and are recognised to be used also for over the board tournament participation.
A page with the same name, FIDE Titles for the Lower Rating Band, leads to FIDE's 'Handbook :: B. Permanent Commissions', FIDE Titles for the Lower Rating Band. As for the statement that the titles 'are recognised to be used also for over the board tournament participation', what does that mean exactly? The 'Lower Rating Band' could be the name of a rock group.