Game Containing AI Art Rejected by Valve 

Steam recently denied a developer's game for its use of AI-generated artwork.

Valve recently denied an indie game developer the right to publish their game on Steam, according to a recent Reddit post, in a move that might feel like a blow to developers using AI to generate art and dialogue in their games. According to the original poster, AI was used to generate certain in-game assets but was sent back to replace said assets. Screenshots shared in the thread read: 

After reviewing, we have identified intellectual property in [redacted] which appears to belong to one or more third parties. In particular [redacted] contains art assets generated by artificial intelligence that appears to be relying on copyrighted material owned by third parties.

This continues the interesting dialogue as artificial intelligence models like MidJourney and ChatGPT gain wider usage, especially in the creative or entertainment arts like video games. After altering the AI-generated art, the developer resubmitted their game, only to be met with another denial. 

… we cannot ship games for which the developer does not have all the necessary rights.

What Does it Mean for AI in Gaming?

I think it’s important to clarify the actual reason for denial, according to Steam. Their contention was not against the use of AI generally, but the fact that the developer revealed in his response that “I cannot confirm the model was not trained on purely copyright free art.”

Valve Rejects AI Art

Regardless of whether game art is or is not created by AI, it’s obviously against Steam’s terms to accept and distribute games that use unlicensed copyrighted materials by a developer that doesn’t own them. 

Interestingly, this doesn’t mean that developers can’t use AI art but that they can’t use AI art that might be “trained” on copyrighted works from other artists. How Valve hopes to detect this is beyond me, but it may have implications in the future, specifically for smaller developers that don’t have many published games. 

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