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Developer claims Steam is rejecting games with AI-generated artwork

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Can you tell which of these seemingly identical bits of Steam iconography were generated using AI (trick question, it's none of them).

Can you tell which of these seemingly identical bits of Steam iconography were generated using AI (trick question, it's none of them). (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Valve has reportedly become the latest company to react to the uncertain legal landscape surrounding AI-generated artwork by simply barring its use in submitted materials. An anonymous developer going by the Reddit handle potterharry97 reports having a Steam game page submission rejected for the use of "art assets generated by artificial intelligence that appears to be relying on copyrighted material owned by third parties."

Potterharry97 originally posted about the rejection in a May post on the now-private GameDev subreddit (partially archived here, Google Cache here). In that post, potterharry97 admitted that "a large portion of the assets have some AI involvement in its creation" through the use of Stable Diffusion. In a follow-up post this month on the AIGameDev subreddit, potterharry97 wrote that the initial submission was intended as an early placeholder version, "with 2-3 assets/sprites that were admittedly obviously AI generated from the hands."

That "obvious" use of AI art tools apparently set off some alarm bells with a Valve moderator, who reportedly replied that Valve had "identified intellectual property... 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."

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