The Pokémon Company disqualifies TCG art contestants who used AI

The Pokemon Company has addressed complaints that were raised after the finalist list for the Pokémon TCG art contest revealed several entries seemingly made with AI.
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The moment The Pokémon Company posted its list of the top 300 finalists of its recent Pokémon TCG Illustration Contest 2024, fans spotted a major discrepancy: while many of the entrants were legitimate artists that had spend countless hours on lovely artwork, some folks had insidiously used AI to enter cheap, computer-made works – and still somehow made it to the finalist list.

In the weeks since this list was posted, many artists and commentators have criticised The Pokémon Company for not taking greater care with selecting entrants, or filtering works for AI usage. As many have rightfully said, it’s not fair that talented artists have poured effort into their works, only for someone to type a few words into a computer and be judged by the same measure. There’s also the matter that AI artwork models are typically built off stolen artworks – so any accolade given to AI artwork is an insult to the artists whose work has been stolen and fed to the machine.

After listening to feedback, The Pokémon Company has thankfully reversed course, firmly stating it will not support AI entrants in the Pokémon TCG Illustration Contest 2024. Those which slipped through the judging process have been disqualified, and artists who submit real work will take their places in the rankings.

Read: The Pokemon Center has landed in Australia and New Zealand

What did the Pokémon Company say on the matter?

“We are aware that select entrants from the top 300 finalists of the Pokémon TCG Illustration Contest 2024 have violated the official contest rules,” reads a statement on the official Pokémon TCG Twitter / X account. “As a result, entrants in violation of the rules have been disqualified from the contest.”

“We’re committed to upholding the integrity of the Pokémon TCG Illustration Contest and appreciate fans’ continued support as we celebrate the artistic abilities of the talented Pokémon community.”

Given the sheer number of excellent submissions from talented artists which didn’t make the cut, the changes implemented here are very appreciated. In a time when AI is threatening the livelihoods of all creatives, we should take time to celebrate individual, human talent, and just how much effort is poured into contests like these.

You only have to look through Twitter / X to see just how many stunning artworks were produced for this contest, and just how much artists deserve our support and respect. Those looking to steal the spotlight using tools that require zero artistic talent should rightfully be excluded from accolades like this.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.