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Sports platform SimWin Sports is bullish about online games and fantasy sports betting, launching a new virtual football league that uses artificial intelligence to train and direct the actions of football teams that the company says will be on the field 24/7.
"The teams are all filled with these digital players," SimWin President and CMO Tom Goedde told Decrypt in an interview. "You tune in and watch something that looks like a game of Madden, NCAA football, or NBA basketball."
The digital teams, Goedde said, are coached by celebrity owners and trainers, including NBA legend and business mogul Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Super Bowl champions Jerry Rice and Marshall Faulk, and NBA all-stars Tracy McGrady and LaMelo Ball.
Investors in SimWin Sports include Johnson, Animoca Brands, 1UP Ventures, former NBC Universal and LA Clippers CEO Dick Parsons, and David Levy, ex-head of Turner Networks.
The fans—called "player agents" by SimWin—"own" the virtual players they train, then earn money from their salaries, sponsorships, bonuses, and shared fantasy sports revenue.
"It's one of the few, possibly only, Web3 experiences where you don't have to sell your digital assets in order to make money," Goedde said.
Under the hood, Goedde explains, SimWin acts as a coaching simulator that allows the players to call plays and have the AI execute the moves using SimWin's "athletic performance AI."
"The AI drives the individual players on the field and helps the coaches by monitoring and learning how they coach," Goedde said. "So when they hand over the reins and don't call the games live, there's an AI coaching and mimicking their play-calling style."
Goedde said using AI and machine learning takes the guesswork out of running the games and removes the likelihood of physical players cheating.
"Esports is a challenge for betting because it's too easy to throw a game," Goedde said. "By having the AI execute, there's no way that you can."
But while the chance to win big on the gridiron may draw a lot of attention from gamblers, Goedde said sports fans can watch the action without risking their hard-earned money.
Co-founded in 2019 by David J. Ortiz and Scott Beckman, SimWin is a platform that aims to bridge the gap between esports, fantasy sports, and NFTs. The SimWin team claims talent from EA Sports, DraftKings, Sony's San Diego Studios (creator of MLB: The Show), and Humongous Entertainment.
After football, the company's plans to expand SimWin into soccer, basketball, and cricket. Looking also to leverage the blockchain, SimWin collaborated with blockchain developer Immutable in a newly-revealed partnership to bring a Web3 edge to fantasy football.
"Immutable gives us strategic guidance in all the Web3 aspects," Goedde said. "Immutable leads strategy, consulting, and advising us in the timing of [NFT] drops, pricing, and marketing."
While SimWin is working with Immutable, Goedde did not say if the platform would utilize Immutable's blockchain, Immutable X. Earlier this year, Immutable revealed a non-custodial passport wallet for gamers on the Immutable X network.
Goedde says that while blockchain and NFTs are key components, what matters most is building a quality gaming experience that's not built on hype, saying that it's important not to make promises the company can't keep.
"When you're working on something innovative, your vision might change over time due to various challenges," he said. "We want to present a well-polished experience we believe everyone will love. This way, we avoid breaking promises and ensure a positive customer experience."