Steam Stance on AI-Generated Games: A New Rule in the Gaming Industry

As the AI wave sweeps across the globe, a multitude of generative AIs are springing up, causing impacts on numerous industries. With these impacts, legal, intellectual property, and copyright issues are arising and attracting attention. Many online platforms related to content publication have begun explicitly prohibiting the upload of AI-generated content. Recently, the well-known gaming service platform, Steam, a subsidiary of the prominent game development company Valve, has announced a ban on user uploads of games created using AI technologies.

Reports reveal that some game developers have tried to upload games made with generative AI technologies onto Steam, but the platform has banned these submissions. Although there are no explicit regulations against using AI technologies to create games, Steam’s response clarifies, “Given the gray area surrounding the legal copyright and ownership of AI, unless developers can confirm ownership and usage rights of the AI training database, they cannot publish games generated by AI.”

Steam is not the only platform rejecting AI-generated content. Major streaming music service Spotify has removed a large volume of AI-created music, which was uploaded via automated processes for revenue generation. Renowned online image library Getty Image has prohibited users from uploading and selling AI-generated images. Similarly, Japan’s well-known illustrator platform Fanbox has made the same decision.

However, according to Valve’s stance, developers are not explicitly banned from creating game content using artificial intelligence technologies. If developers are leveraging their own developed AI technologies to generate content, they must provide additional proof of the legality of the content copyright. For instance, developers need to prove that the game is developed using tools like Unity and that AI technologies are utilized to generate game scenes, NPC characters, and other content, or they must remove AI-generated content to avoid future disputes.

Ever since AI technologies stepped into the public domain, many creators have voiced their confusion regarding the copyright ownership of AI-generated works. It remains unclear whether the copyright should belong to the AI developer or to the artist whose work was used to train the AI, a question even the United States Copyright Office has yet to resolve. Steam’s developer policy stipulates that developers “must not use content without complete or sufficient ownership.” However, they have also indicated to developers that there is an opportunity to publish their work as long as AI-generated content is removed.

From these developments, it is clear that gaming platforms like Steam are taking a stringent stance on the use of AI technologies in game development and the potential issues they may bring. This stance introduces new challenges and opportunities for game developers and the progression of AI technology.

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