The unclear legality of generative AI has Steam rejecting assets produced using this technology.
Another major player in the gaming industry has started making choices based on assets developed using components created by artificial intelligence. In this case, Steam has reportedly stopped games that use AI-generated art assets from being sold through its tremendously popular marketplace.
Valve, Steam’s owner, has reportedly decided that AI-generated art has shaky copyrights.
The news that Steam is rejecting games with art created by artificial intelligence was originally shared by an anonymous developer claiming that their efforts to submit such a game to Steam were stopped.
The developer tweeted the news, admitting that a considerable portion of the game’s assets “have some AI involvement”, adding later that they used Stable Diffusion.
PSA: Valve has been quietly banning newly submitted Steam games using AI-created art assets – if submitters can’t prove they have rights for the assets used to train the algorithms: https://t.co/WhWpJpaFjl pic.twitter.com/5KhzJESYxk
— Simon Carless (@simoncarless) June 29, 2023
According to a moderator from Valve that responded to the post, Steam was unable to list the game the developer had attempted to submit because they identified it as having artificial intelligence generated art assets “that appear to be relying on copyrighted material owned by third parties.”
“As the legal ownership of such AI-generated art is unclear,” explained the moderator, “we cannot ship your game while it contains these AI-generated assets, unless you can affirmatively confirm that you own the rights to all of the IP used in the data set that trained the AI to create the assets in your game.”
The game continued to be rejected even after obvious artificial intelligence components were removed.
According to the game developer, they went ahead and “improved” the assets to eliminate “obvious signs of AI,” but continued to be blocked when trying to resubmit the game to Steam.
Valve has yet to confirm that what the moderator explained was official policy for submitting games to Steam. By the time this article was written, public clarification had not yet been issued by the company.
That said, the wording of the moderator’s replies indicates that developers should be able to use in-house artificial intelligence technology, such as that used by Blizzard, which is trained only on the developer’s own assets. That said this strategy could present a challenge for the new AI in the Unity game engine.