Published on January 10, 2024, 9:49 am

Valve, the operator of the Steam gaming platform, has made updates to its rules regarding games with generative AI. The company outlined these changes in a blog post on Steamworks Development, addressing both pre-generated and live-generated AI content.

Pre-generated AI content refers to any content, whether it be art, code, sound, or other forms, that is created during the development process using AI tools. Valve expects developers to adhere to the Steam Distribution Agreement by ensuring their games do not include illegal or infringing content. During the pre-release review process, Valve will evaluate the output of AI-generated content in the same manner as non-AI content to determine if it complies with their guidelines.

Live-generated AI content, on the other hand, involves content that is created in-game using AI tools. In addition to following the same rules as pre-generated AI content, developers must now inform Valve about the safeguards they have put in place to prevent the generation of illegal content by their AI systems.

Valve has also updated its questionnaire for developers prior to game release. This questionnaire now includes a section specifically dedicated to disclosing information about how developers utilize AI technology throughout the development and execution of their games. This disclosure will be taken into consideration during Valve’s review process and may also be displayed on the game’s store page for potential customers to understand how AI technology is utilized within the game.

To further enforce compliance with Steam rules regarding live AI content in games, Valve has implemented a new reporting system for players. Developers are responsible for notifying Valve of any safeguards they have implemented within their games to ensure that their AI systems do not generate illegal content. It’s worth noting that Valve currently does not publish adult sexual content generated by live AIs.

These policy updates from Valve come after reports surfaced in July 2023 indicating that some games with AI-generated content were rejected due to copyright issues. At that time, developers were unable to prove ownership of the training data used by their AI systems, leading to these rejections. However, Valve has decided to take a cautious approach and wait for legal clarity before allowing such games on their platform.

This new policy provides developers with a clearer framework for utilizing generative AI in their games and releasing them on Steam. Nevertheless, there still remains some ambiguity surrounding the legal basis of generative AI, particularly regarding the ownership of training data used in generating content. Numerous lawsuits are currently pending, which will likely contribute to shaping the regulatory environment.

Generative AI has the potential to greatly benefit the gaming industry as it combines various technologies that lend themselves well to semi-automation, such as code, graphics, text, 2D and 3D assets. For example, Midjourney recently made headlines when it announced its plans to generate entire 3D worlds at an impressive 60 frames-per-second in the near future. However, Midjourney has also faced scrutiny for possible copyright infringement related to its generative AI tools.

In conclusion, Valve’s updated rules regarding games with generative AI aim to provide developers with clearer guidelines for utilizing this technology on the Steam platform. While challenges surrounding legal ownership and copyright issues persist within the realm of generative AI, Valve is committed to reviewing and adjusting its approach accordingly as regulatory environments evolve over time.

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