Steam does not have a blanket ban on any AI related games. Instead, Valve said they want to ensure developers own the content included in their games.

Valve has clarified its stance on reports of games using AI art being banned from Steam. It’s not a hard No, but the onus lies on the developer to ensure they have the rights to use the assets used in their games. 

Earlier last month, several game developers reported their games not being published on Steam due to containing AI-generated content. With developers claiming their games were not published on Steam for containing ‘AI tech’, the AI game dev community was worried. Valve is the largest games marketplace and losing access to this platform would be a severe blow to AI-related games. However, Valve has clarified its stance on AI-related games on its digital games platform.

Are AI Games banned on Steam?

Valve’s statement clarifies there is not a blanket ban on AI-related games. Instead, it wants to ensure that game developers own the rights to assets and art used in their games. The statement also indirectly says Valve does not want to discourage AI-related games as long as the developers own the assets to their games.

“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," Valve told IGN in a statement. "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.”

"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’s main gripe with some of the AI games being submitted on Steam was copyright related to some of the games' artwork and assets. With AI scraping through the internet for assets, there are numerous occasions where it becomes difficult to ascertain if the game developer owns the rights to artwork and assets used in the game. Valve has maintained its policy of ensuring all games own the assets they contain.

Valve ensures it remains on the right side of the law

Innkeeper's Basement, despite containing content generated by AI has been approved on Steam. Image Credit: <a href="">Innkeeper's Basement / Steam</a>
Innkeeper's Basement, despite containing content generated by AI has been approved on Steam. Image Credit: Innkeeper's Basement / Steam

Valve’s position is also a means of ensuring it does not get caught up in any potential lawsuits. With AI-related content scraping through the internet for images and assets, it becomes important to ensure the game developers have an ownership or copyright of the assets used in their game.  In case they do not, it might result in several lawsuits. With Steam being the platform on which these games are sold, it would make sense to drag Valve in as a defendant. 

Earlier this year, the US Copyright Office said AI-generated art cannot be copyrighted. While a large section of the AI art community disagrees with this ruling, for now, there is no way to copyright AI-created content.

Valve’s developer submission guidelines clearly state games that use blockchain technology that issue or allow cryptocurrencies and NFT are not allowed on Steam. There is no blanket ban on AI-created content in the official rules. However, developers should refrain from submitting games whose content they don’t own the rights to. 

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