Transitioning a land-based title to online, with SG Digital’s Brett Jackson

“We’re always looking to introduce new and innovative mechanics to our games,” asserts Brett Jackson, creative director at SG Digital, on the potential of the group’s 5 Treasures title being expanded any further in the online marketplace.

Jackson made the comment in conversation with SBC Americas, where he was quizzed on the challenges of adapting its aforementioned Asian-themed slot machine title, which has been a firm favourite across multiple land-based venues in the US for several years, to the digital ecosystem.

Before suggesting that one of the group’s main areas of interest for the group lies with game families, Jackson begins by elaborating on how the group ensures that a popular retail game theme/mechanic works in the online environment.

“It’s always an adaptation. We look to understand the essence of what makes an existing title like 5 Treasures so popular, and identify the key areas that shouldn’t be altered,” he says. 

“The fundamental challenge is bringing the same presentation to the online market, as electronic gaming machines (EGMs) can hold up to 2GB of storage, which means there’s more scope to deliver higher quality animations and audio on a local level. 

“With online, you have to consider these games are downloaded wirelessly onto a desktop or mobile device, or even through mobile data. If it takes too long to download the game, you run the risk of players instantly switching to another title without ever spinning the reels. 

“We have to ensure we offer the same visual and audio experience that players are accustomed to in the land-based environment, while also being mindful of making the user experience as slick as possible. 

“To achieve this, we make the game assets much smaller in file size but without compromising on quality. That brings a lot of difficult decisions on how far we can go in compressing files to keep the essence of the gameplay.”

Adding: “There’s also the added challenge of offering such a game to multiple jurisdictions where regulation can differ. The math has to be compliant with each jurisdiction. We’re at an advantage as we typically run these online versions at a significantly higher RTP, such as 96 per cent whereas with an EGM it would be at 88 per cent. 

“From a design perspective, that brings another challenge of finding where to put that extra RTP within the game. It’s a balancing act of choosing to include it within the base game and features without changing the essence of the original hit. 

“Thankfully, it’s a process that we’ve got plenty of experience in and we do a very good job of adapting land-based titles for online. 5 Treasures is the latest example of this and there will be many more to follow in the coming months and years.”

To read the interview in full, click here

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