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Report: Valve won't publish Steam titles that feature AI-generated content

The company told one Steam developer it "cannot ship games for which the developer does not have all of the necessary rights."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

June 29, 2023

2 Min Read

Valve is seemingly refusing to publish Steam titles that leverage AI generated assets.

A Reddit post highlighted by GameDiscoverCo founder Simon Carless details how Valve prevented a developer who included a few "fairly obviously AI generated" assets in an early version of their game from shipping the project on Steam.

The affected developer explained their plan was to "submit a rougher version of the game" with two to three AI-generated sprites before improving them prior to launch.

In response, Valve sent back a message explaining that it "cannot ship games for which the developer does not have all of the necessary rights," suggesting it will be taking a hardline stance where AI-generated assets are concerned.

"After reviewing, we have identified intellectual property in [Game Name Here] which appears to belongs to one or more third parties. In particular, [Game Name Here] contains art assets generated by artificial intelligence that appears to be relying on copyrighted material owned by third parties," reads the message.

"As the legal ownership of such AI-generated art is unclear, 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.

"We are failing your build and will give you one (1) opportunity to remove all content that you do not have the rights to from your build. If you fail to remove all such content, we will not be able to ship your game on Steam, and this app will be banned."

After receiving that pushback, the developer claims to have improved those assets "by hand" so there were no longer any "obvious signs of AI." Despite those efforts, their app was still rejected after resubmitting.

They added that it took Valve over a week to provide a response after resubmitting, while other titles they've released were approved "within a day or two."

"It seems like Valve doesn't really have a standard approach to AI generated games yet, and I've seen several games up that even explicitly mention the use of AI," added the developer. "But at the moment at least, they seem wary, and not willing to publish AI generated content, so I guess for any other devs on here, be wary of that."

Game Developer has reached out to Valve for more information about how it plans to handle Steam titles that leverage AI-generated content.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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