It looks like Valve is banning video games that use any form of AI in development.
We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: AI is a revolutionary technology that’s currently changing the landscapes across numerous industries. However, where some have embraced the many wonders of AI, others, such as Valve, are pushing back. Namely, the company allegedly started banning games featuring AI content from its Steam gaming platform.
According to VGC, Valve prevented a developer from shipping a game, which included several AI-generated assets, on Steam. The affected developer explained that the project, a rougher version of the game, does contain some AI-generated content, which it planned on improving prior to the game’s launch.
However, Valve notified the developer, stating that the company can’t ship games for which the developers don’t have all the necessary rights—thus taking a hardline stand against games with AI-generated assets.
As Valve explained, they have identified intellectual property in the developer’s project, which appears to belong to one or more third parties. This isn’t surprising when it comes to artificial intelligence, as it uses all the materials—both copyrighted and copyright-free content—at its disposal to generate art.
Since the legal ownership of AI-generated content isn’t always clear, Valve denied shipping the developer’s game for as long as the project contains AI-generated assets or until the developer can confirm that it actually owns the rights to all IPs used by the AI to generate said assets.
Furthermore, besides failing the game’s build, Valve has also offered one opportunity to the developer to remove all AI-generated content, for which the developer seemingly doesn’t have rights.
If the developer fails to remove such content in the re-submitted build of the game, Valve stated that it would ban the app from Steam. Needless to say, despite removing said AI-generated content, Valve rejected the re-submitted build of the game and has banned the developer’s project from its Steam digital storefront.
The affected developer has stated that Valve still doesn’t have a standardized approach to AI-generated in-game content yet, as there are several games on the Steam platform that even explicitly mention the use of AI during the creation process.
This could mean that the games are either evaluated on a case-by-case basis or that the company decided to only ban games with AI-generated content from this point on. Whatever the case may be, the platform holder is currently not willing to publish AI-generated content.
In the end, this isn’t anything new; with more and more of the world’s content being produced by AI, it’s only fair for companies such as Valve to develop policies that would protect them from intellectual property lawsuits after the game has been published.
However, judging from everything, the evaluation process seems to be a bit messy, considering that Valve has previously shipped games with AI-generated content—including High on Life—in which the characters, voice acting, or the entire narrative has been generated by an AI.
What’s interesting about the whole deal is that Steamworks Distribution Program’s submission guidelines don’t actually mention anything about the AI-generated content in games, and the lack of consistency is frustrating game developers.