Valve Reportedly Refuses to Publish Games with AI Content on Steam

You need to make sure you have the rights to what you train AI on. 

Launching games on Steam might become problematic if you use machine-made assets there. Game developer baobaozi89 shared on Reddit that Valve refused to publish their game because it contains AI-generated content. The company said developers need to have rights to everything, including the images used to train the model. 

baobaozi89 planned to improve some AI-made assets later, before releasing the game, but Valve didn't let it happen. 

Here is the message baobaozi89 received:


While we strive to ship most titles submitted to us, we cannot ship games for which the developer does not have all of the necessary rights.

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.

We are failing your build and will give you one (1) opportunity to remove all content that you do not have the rights to from your build.

If you fail to remove all such content, we will not be able to ship your game on Steam, and this app will be banned."

The creator changed the content in question so you can't tell it's machine-made anymore, but Valve still denied their request "since it’s unclear if the underlying AI tech used to create the assets has sufficient rights to the training data."

The company seems to have taken its time to try and figure out the legal side of the content as the letter came over a week later when usually baobaozi89's projects are approved in a couple of days. The developer suggested Valve doesn't have a standard approach to AI-generated games yet as there are some Steam games that explicitly mention the use of AI art. 

This situation is a pretty significant move on Valve's part considering the concerns artists, developers, and other professionals have about AI using their work for training. 

What do you think? Find the Reddit post here and don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

Join discussion

Comments 4

  • Anonymous user



    Anonymous user

    ·6 months ago·
  • Anonymous user

    I recommend reading my comment before replying.

    I didn't say environment textures are a lengthy process. I said environment textures are a good way to integrate AI generated assets into the creative workflow.

    What I mentioned is a lengthy process is converting world maps into hundreds of separate replica battle maps. If you don't know what I'm talking about research it first before making an uneducated comment.

    I find it funny that you then prove my point by saying "ethically sourced" AI that can be used is that which is owned by major companies and AAA studios.

    I won't even mention the fact that you actually cited Adobe as an example of "ethically sourced"... that statement speaks for itself.

    Saying that "DLSS takes comes from the intellectual property it is contributing to" is also false. In the case of DLSS 2.0 even if you exclude the data used to train the network itself, it is still false according to Nvidia's own statement:

    "One Network For All Games - The original DLSS required training the AI network for each new game. DLSS 2.0 trains using non-game-specific content, delivering a generalized network that works across games. This means faster game integrations, and ultimately more DLSS games."

    So obviously, this is a breach of Valve's "devs must own everything in the datasets used to train AI" clause.

    As for your misleading comment about using AI to create "Assassin's Creed knock-offs" and whatnot, sorry but it's a childish hyperbole. Plagiarizing is already not allowed by Valve and subject to lawsuits. You don't need an AI for that. Asset flips and blatant plagiarizing have been around for years. AI won't make them any more legal or profitable than they are.

    What AI will do however, is help streamline and optimize the workflow of smaller studios to allow them to compete with much larger ones despite having less resources.


    Anonymous user

    ·9 months ago·
  • Anonymous user

    Other commenter being repulsively disingenuous. Libraries triple A devs would have access to would be for recycling their own IP, not necessary for you to get your grimy hands on and create "Assassins Pledge" or some knock off.

    Your notion that environment textures are a lengthy unloved process(you didn't need to state it 3 times over btw) is a brainless and ignorant statement that flies in the face of even a cursory glance on Artstation. While indie devs do have to prioritise, at the very *least* the curation of a particular shade of green for the grass must be a considered process.

    Small devs can in fact license AI assisted tools for certain tasks with datasets that are ethically sourced; Bitmap2material in the substance suite for example. Whatever DLSS's licensing situation it's dataset was at least originally derived from the same intellectual property it was contributing to. Whatever it does now I'm going to hazard a guess the triple A devs who gave it data signed on. Megascans is 3d reconstruction which is *not* AI(algorithms did in-fact exist before Web3 pyramid schemes were in vogue if you can believe it).

    Very uneducated takes from the kind of mind that is inspiring artists to want a blanket withdrawal of AI from the sector. It's a shame cause I've had a bit of fun with the more gap-filler style tools but if the 2 projects are "burn it all down" or "let the guys who are dumber than the AI they operate win" i guess as someone with sentience i can only throw my lot in with one of those options.


    Anonymous user

    ·9 months ago·
  • Anonymous user

    Anyone thinking this is anything other than lobbying in the interest of AAA studios is fooling themselves. Major studios aren't happy that AI technology will allow much smaller and less funded (while often more creative) studios to compete with them at a level that wasn't previously possible.

    AAA studios actually have the funds (and resources) to train their own AI models (on content they themselves own), or just use sheer manpower to avoid using AI entirely and still deliver "AAA" content. Small devs do not.

    Obviously something as simple as "using generated images as assets" isn't gonna hold up quality-wise and will not threaten bigger studios, however integrating AI in the workflow in a smart way definitely will.

    One of such examples is environment textures, which can be AI-generated at no loss of quality or creativity and will save resources that can be used somewhere else in the dev process. A more concrete examples of lengthy dev processes that might soon be automated by AI is the conversion of world-map scenarios into a battle map (like in Total War games or Mount&Blade). It's a lengthy process (and tedious for devs, who would rather be working on more creative worldbuilding) that could be assigned to AI at no loss of quality or creativity to the game, and obviously not harming "work of other artists".

    Another great example is the single-dev space sim game Spacebourne 2, which features a fully functional AI ship assistant that you can interact with.

    Valve claiming to "care for artists" while cracking on creative single-dev games to favour AAA studios is ridiculous to say the least.

    And that's not even mention that if Valve's stance were consistent, then games using DLSS or 3D reconstruction (e.g. megascans) or any other AI-powered technology not trained on the dev's own models would also get banned. Obviously Valve won't do that as this would oppose the very same AAA studios lobbying for this stance.

    This entire move can be translated to: "How can AAA studios sell games for $70 when smaller studios are able to match their results better and better while selling their product for $20?"


    Anonymous user

    ·9 months ago·

You might also like

We need your consent

We use cookies on this website to make your browsing experience better. By using the site you agree to our use of cookies.Learn more