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Blueprint Gaming: mastering retail to online

By - 29 June 2020

Jo Purvis, Director of Marketing and Relationships at Blueprint Gaming, identifies the key factors in taking a popular game from pubs and arcades to desktop and mobile devices.

Since the boom of online gaming, the ability to cross-sell retail players into the digital environment has long been a process that many operators have strived to perfect. In the current climate, the omni-channel approach is being scrutinised more than ever as players from the land-based environment seek alternative forms of entertainment.

The truth is though, replicating a format that is successful within the pubs and arcades doesn’t necessarily guarantee the immediate success you’d expect online. To create a slot that transitions across both channels, you need to truly understand the traditional legacy of retail games along with the dynamics of the online world.

Retail slots are very different to their online counterparts, from the mechanics of the gameplay to the way they’re consumed by players. Knowing what goes into making a mechanical retail game is essential to understanding how this should be portrayed to an online customer base.

There are examples of games that have made the successful crossover into online. Converted Reel Time Gaming (RTG) titles such as Eye of Horus and Fishin’ Frenzy were hugely popular in the LBO environment across Europe and are now building a strong fan base in the online space too.

APPEALING TO A WIDER AUDIENCE

While online allows for greater flexibility in creating new mechanics for slots, in many ways the popular ‘pub fruit’ format found in the retail environment can be even more interactive in terms of the number of features.

In fact, many of the concepts that originated in retail games have now become the norm in online slots. The free spins mode is an example of this, which evolved from the traditional retail respins feature that was and still is a staple of any land-based mechanical product.

These retail games have the potential to reach a wide audience, but they must be adapted in the right way. Reducing the features and only implementing a few of the retail favourites with the online variant is an important move.

There’s a fine balance that must be met to keep both audiences satisfied. The mindsets and behaviours of players across both channels can differ and need to be taken into consideration. The segment of players that enjoy heading to the pubs and arcades enjoy the social element as much as the games themselves.

For online, a large section of players prefer a more direct interaction in order to trigger features and jackpots more regularly, while also hopping from site to site to activate bonus offers.

When it comes to taking an existing retail slot to the online market, developers have much more freedom to modify game mechanics, features and price structures, meaning that bridging the gap between channels is far easier than ever before.

Replicating fruit machine games for online has proven favourable with operators and players alike. Although online versions of these games are slimmed down versions of the traditional format, they still resonate with retail players and also opens up the genre to a new audience.

Blueprint Gaming’s Pub Fruit Series of traditionally inspired fruit machines games is a glowing example of this, receiving industry acclaim for bringing classic features such as bonus trails and lapper boards to the online experience.

We’ve taken the popular retail game Deal or No Deal that’s based on the infamous TV show and brought the machine format to online. We’ve also adapted successful online slots such as Genie Jackpots and ted into the pub fruit genre, highlighting the cross-over that can be achieved.

As more operators look to diversify their online casino offering with games that appeal to both online and retail players, choosing the right games that have been modified for both audiences are the key to future success.

What puts us at an advantage is that Blueprint has a strong heritage in both the land-based and online sectors. Over the years, our design and development team have learnt all about players habits and preferences, while also keeping on top of the latest trends given that they’re avid slot players themselves.

These learnings are instrumental in the transition process, focusing on what players wants as much as incorporating innovative features and functionality.

Jo Purvis is Director of Marketing and Relationships at leading slot provider Blueprint Gaming. She has a wealth of previous experience in various sales, marketing and leadership roles across UK retail and International Casino.

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