top of page
  • Writer's pictureKevin Jones

The New Arena: Jonathan Strause on AI's Role in Evolving Video Game Competitions

In an interview with Gaming Eminence, Jonathan Strause, the CEO of Invincible GG, unveils the transformative role of AI in the gaming and gambling industries. Strause elaborates on how AI-powered virtual sports are not only redefining the gaming experience for players and spectators but are also bridging the gap between traditional gaming approaches and skill-based video game competitions. By emphasising intelligence over physical skills, Invincible GG aims to democratise the competitive landscape, making it accessible to a wider audience. Strause discusses the technical and regulatory challenges faced in integrating these innovative technologies with established gambling infrastructures, highlighting the company's strategic efforts to enhance the appeal of AI-powered sports.



GE) Given the rise of AI-powered virtual sports in the gambling industry, how do you see the integration of skill-based video game competition and AI entity ownership redefining the overall gaming experience for both players and spectators in comparison to traditional gaming approaches?


JS) Every professional sports league has a fundamental structure of owners (or promoters in

fighting), managers (coaches, team CEOs, trainers, etc.), and athletes. With already two young

generations of video gamers coming of the legal gambling age, and with the rise of AI-powered athletes and entities, it is natural that there will be interest by these generations:


  • to own, manage, and compete in both team sports, individual contests, racing and fighting events, and other video game-based competitions, and

  • in competing in real money skill contests once they have transcended the game learning curve,

  • As fans of the events, gambling is the outcome of these contests.


At Invincible GG, we are replicating this real-world structure and facilitating the opportunity for

everyone to participate. We do this using AI, advanced event simulation, and blockchain

technologies.


In its most simplistic terms, we are making participation in these events possible for everyone.


GE) As the Chairman and CEO of Invincible GG, you've emphasized the importance of competing with sports and gaming IQ rather than traditional "twitch" skills. Can you elaborate on how this shift enhances the competitive landscape and strategic thinking in AI-powered virtual sports, and its implications for operators seeking differentiation in the market?


JS) It is about market size and accessibility. For example, over 25 million people in the United

States play basketball regularly. Only 450 play it professionally. Again, over 200 million people in the US play video games regularly, but less than .002% play in real-money eSports

competitions. Then, compare it to online poker, where over 60 million US players compete for

real money. The difference is that players compete with their minds, not their thumbs or athletic skills in poker. If people can compete purely using their gaming and sports intelligence versus their tactile skills, the market for people who want and can compete is exponentially larger.


GE) Considering the integration of Invincible GG with major sportsbook technology platforms, what technical challenges have you encountered in seamlessly blending AI-powered virtual sports with traditional gambling infrastructure? How do you believe overcoming these challenges contributes to the advancement of the industry as a whole?


JS) Our biggest challenge has been educating and gaining the support of the front-line operators in these gaming and racing establishments. Typically, these people are not millennials and certainly not early Gen Z. Many are late Baby Boomers or early Gen X and, by the nature of the industry they have chosen, are fanatics of real-life sports, not video games or virtual sports.


These people are on the front lines and control the communications to the players coming to

wager. We have found that when they are not properly trained and educated in how our

products work and the benefits, we risk losing our customers and fans at the point of sale.


When our mobile game “Owner’s Club” rolls out in the months ahead, we will be re introducing our AI-powered races to the front-line operators of our casino partners and finding creative ways to let them experience both the mobile game and the events derived from the mobile game that players can wager on. We must focus on this component to succeed in our business’s wagering arm.


Because of the inherent structure of the industry, these are the people who have to answer questions and, to some level, “sell” virtual sports and understand and communicate what AI powered virtual sports are.


GE) Being fully integrated with major sportsbook technology platforms is a notable aspect of Invincible GG's strategy. How does this integration enhance the accessibility and appeal of AI powered virtual sports to a broader audience, and what role does it play in fostering collaboration with established players in the gambling industry?


JS) Our first focus was integrating our events and disseminating our event data into the global horse betting totalizator system. All of our race schedules, past performances, and results are disseminated in the global ITSP standard, so any track, betting shop, or online/mobile horse betting platform can add our races. We made it as simple as adding a new regional or international track, which they do quite often. Next, we built systems to support delivering race information and race results to sportsbooks that offer fixed odds betting on sports and, in some cases, horse races. While there is no global standard for fixed odds sports betting, as with pari-mutuel horse betting, the major operators' system APIs are similar enough that we can now easily integrate with just about any sports betting platform in the world with a few days' effort.


As I mentioned above, getting the buy-in and support of front-line sportsbooks and race

operators is critical. Getting their management bought in requires not only a great-looking

product that is already tested and approved by the gaming authority in their relevant gaming

jurisdiction but also time and cost-effective to integrate. One of the greatest challenges in

working with any of these large sports betting or race companies is that they already have

tremendous technology and market backlogs. With the opening of the US Market (and many

new International markets), their focus is competing and winning core customers in the

traditional market segments. Virtual events like ours are, at this time, nice to have for their core customers, but will be key to securing Millennials and Gen Z players in the future. So, we have to be a turnkey integration that requires nearly no time from the technologists even to be considered.


Anyone following the growth of sports betting in the US knows that the market is truly accelerating among male consumers aged 21-35. This is also a core group that not only loves video games but would enthusiastically participate in real-money contests and wager on the outcomes. So, for invincible GG, being integrated into these wagering platforms that are distributed to millions of our target consumers is a key strategy for our success.


GE) In your journey as the Chairman and CEO of Invincible GG, what personal challenges have you encountered in navigating the intersection of AI-powered virtual sports and the gambling industry? How have these challenges shaped your perspectives on the future of this innovative sector, and what lessons can other industry leaders learn from your experiences?


JS) The path to our success is complex, time-consuming, and expensive. The personal challenges arising from our commitment to achieving our vision are extensive.


Others take shortcuts. Creating virtual sports events where RNGs and events determine the

outcomes “look good” is easy. What we do is hard. Creating real-time events that are true competitions using simulation and AI technologies is difficult. Having AI-powered horses compete live and look like a real-life horse race is very difficult.


Also, it is much easier to create an offshore company with opaque management and no real

operating center than to operate by the rules and regulations of the United States. It is also easy for these companies to offer token-based gambling on virtual events while ignoring regulations and gambling laws. We are trying to do things the right way.


In the future, the major gambling operators (Sports, Casinos, and Racing) and regulatory agencies must get ahead of the battle against bad actors in the crypto and online gambling spaces. But they must also be careful not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.”


The facts are that participating off-shore and offering illegal wagering is a profitable business and that consumers that Casinos and Racing have traditionally struggled to capture are flocking to these emergent offerings. This is reason alone to embrace companies like ours that deliver the goods from a product standpoint while being committed to “doing it right.”


The sector needs to work more aggressively to help companies like ours. They need to make

partnering and getting to market the right way easier and less expensive. This will foster the

innovation necessary to capture the consumers that are eluding them.


About our Contributor

After a successful career with McKinsey & Company where he worked extensively with leading technology companies reshaping traditional markets, he has spent the last two decades building disruptive companies in video games, social and mobile gaming, and sports betting. These companies included a merchant bank that provided advisory and growth capital services to leading independent game studios and a sports data analytics company that was a bellwether to the recent era of daily fantasy sports and legal sports betting in the US.

Jonathan is the co-inventor of two important patents in the virtual sports and interactive gaming sectors. These patents are the keys to successfully converging skill mobile gaming, Web3 gaming, and regulated gambling into one exciting and compelling ecosystem. Armed with an MBA from Wharton School and a BA from Duke University, Jonathan's visionary leadership at Invincible GG has led to their successful redefining of interactive competitive gaming and gambling. Visit https://www.invinciblegg.com/





bottom of page