Valve Started Rejecting Games Containing AI-Generated Assets
In June 2023, a game developer published a rejection letter from Valve on the AIGameDev subreddit. According to the OP, the letter included the reasons Valve couldn’t ship the game and suggestions on how to comply with their current policies.
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. 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.
The letter also states that the developer was given the opportunity to remove the content they didn’t have the right to and that the game would not be published on Steam if these conditions weren’t met.
Photo illustration: Freepik
Still, that wasn’t the only time Valve had rejected a game due to potential copyright infringement issues. Several game developers shared similar stories, all of which have one thing in common – each developer had used AI-generated content for game development.
Being a reputable video game development company, Valve is aware of the legal uncertainty around generative content, hence the need to be pickier about what is allowed on Steam. If developers can’t prove they have the right to use all visual, text, video, and audio elements within the game, their work will be rejected.
Valve’s Two Cents on the Recent Events
In an interview with EuroGamer, Valve addressed recent events by claiming that the company is trying to learn about AI and its implementation in game development. Its goal is to publish as many games as possible, but developers should be aware that the current review process of games must align with copyright law and policies.
We know it is a constantly evolving tech, and our goal is not to discourage the use of it on Steam; instead, we're working through how to integrate it into our already-existing review policies. Stated plainly, our review process is a reflection of current copyright law and policies, not an added layer of our opinion. As these laws and policies evolve over time, so will our process.
Valve said in an interview with EuroGamer.
Valve also added that every developer is responsible for ensuring they have the rights to all content and assets used in game development. Still, the company has warned that it’s not always easy to determine if developers have the necessary rights to comply with the current copyright laws.
There’s no doubt that AI could radically improve game production. However, until we have clear guidelines on how to use and distribute AI in our work, similar reports will likely appear in the future.