Wizards of the Coast has issued a statement apologizing for using “elements of generative AI” in its latest marketing campaign after facing scrutiny from artists on Twitter.

Wizards of the Coast was among the latest wave of brands called out for using generative AI in their marketing campaigns. After initially doubling down, they've admitted to using generative AI and issued an apology. The studio was called out after getting caught using generative AI to promote Magic: The Gathering, their digital collectible card game. Artists all over Twitter condemned the studio for using generative AI, especially amidst the ongoing controversy with Midjourney.

Midjourney, the generative AI tool is the subject of a lawsuit around fair compensation of artists in the AI era. The tool has been a hot topic of late, for its tendency to generate AI media by plagiarizing existing art created by human artists. Ironically, Midjourney has been scraping art from Magic: The Gathering to generate media.

Generative AI to market Magic: The Gathering

Wizards of the Coast, alongside brands like Wacom and Apex Legends were caught using AI to market their products. The studio's latest marketing campaign for Magic: The Gathering is the subject of criticism from many artists. The campaign contains elements that are generated using AI. An image in the campaign with a set of cards against a realistic background is attracting a lot of scrutiny. However, some artists have pointed out the entire campaign uses generative AI. Wizards of the Coast has been retouching the AI-generated media to appear human. This has become common practice as of late to save on costs and time.

Artist quits role with Wizards of the Coast over AI controversy

Artist Dave Rapoza, who has worked with Wizards of the Coast announced on Twitter that he's done working with them in the wake of the AI controversy. This happened immediately after Wizards of the Coast posted the Magic: The Gathering campaign. It doesn't help that this comes amid industry-wide mass layoffs wherein many artists working with game developers and publishers are losing their jobs.

Wizards of the Coast admits to using AI and issues an apology

Under mounting pressure from artists on Twitter, Wizards of the Coast deleted the campaign from Twitter and issued a statement. Having initially doubled down on its stance, the studio then admitted that its recent campaign may have "contained elements of generative AI".

Thanks to our diligent community who pointed out a series of recent marketing images may have included elements of generative AI, we are rethinking our process of how we work with vendors for our marketing creative.

Wizards of the Coast official statement

The studio went on to elaborate that it will revisit how it works with vendors on creatives beyond the product.

The Midjourney controversy

The biggest irony here is that Midjourney, a popular generative AI tool is the subject of controversy for scraping Magic: The Gathering art to generate its results. Reid Southen, an artist who has worked with bigwigs such as Marvel and DC has been actively calling out companies that use generative AI. He recently posted a Discord screenshot of Midjourney CEO David Holz talking about scraping Magic: The Gathering artists and IP. For Wizards of the Coast to then use generative AI leaves a sour taste in many artists' mouths.

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