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Valve says it won't ban games on Steam with AI content, if they don't infringe on copyrights

Steamworks artwork

Over the past few days, there have been reports of some game developers allegedly having their games banned from publication on Valve's Steam service for using AI-generated content.

One game developer posted a note on Reddit (via Kotaku) that he tried to go through the Steam submission process with a game with AI-made content. In response, he says he had the game rejected from Steam because, according to a note from Valve, " . . . it’s unclear if the underlying AI tech used to create the assets has sufficient rights to the training data."

That appears to be the line of reasoning for Valve to reject some games with AI-generated content like artwork. IGN got a lengthy response this weekend from a Valve spokesperson, who made it clear that while it won't reject a game submitted to Steam outright due to AI content, it may do so if it feels the assets are not owned by the creator of the game.

In the statement, the Valve spokesperson said:

We are continuing to learn about AI, the ways it can be used in game development, and how to factor it in to our process for reviewing games submitted for distribution on Steam. Our priority, as always, is to try to ship as many of the titles we receive as we can. The introduction of AI can sometimes make it harder to show a developer has sufficient rights in using AI to create assets, including images, text, and music. In particular, there is some legal uncertainty relating to data used to train AI models. It is the developer's responsibility to make sure they have the appropriate rights to ship their game.

The spokesperson added that in terms of AI-made content, "our goal is not to discourage the use of it on Steam" but it is "working through how to integrate it into our already-existing review policies." In short, Valve says, "While developers can use these AI technologies in their work with appropriate commercial licenses, they can not infringe on existing copyrights."

Valve's current status on how AI should be integrated into games will likely be one of the big debates in game development going forward. Right now, the company seems to be moving on the side of caution, which is usually a good thing. We will likely learn more about how games with AI-made content will be regulated and released in the months and years to come.

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