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Valve announces new disclosure rules for AI content in Steam games

Developers will now be required to detail any use of AI in games, and confirm it is legal use.
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Steam owner Valve has announced new rules for AI in games published on its platform, with “guardrails” put in place for generated content that infringes copyright law. All developers will now be required to fully disclose their use of AI in the game creation process, and confirm that games do not infringe on existing copyright. Users will also be able to self-report content they believe may violate this rule, as an added layer of monitoring.

Per Valve, the change was made to ensure “the vast majority of games that use [AI]” can be released, without indulging those using the technology in harmful or illegal ways.

“We are updating the Content Survey that developers fill out when submitting to Steam,” Valve revealed on Steam. “The survey now includes a new AI disclosure section, where you’ll need to describe how you are using AI in the development and execution of your game.”

Read: Valve is seemingly banning Steam games with AI art

Within the updated survey, AI usage will be separated into two categories. The first is Pre-Generated, which is described as “any kind of content created with the help of AI tools during development.” Under the Steam Distribution Agreement, developers will be required to confirm their submitted game does not include illegal or infringing content, and that it is consistent with any marketing presented.

“We will evaluate the output of AI generated content in your game the same way we evaluate all non-AI content – including a check that your game meets those promises,” Valve said.

The second category of AI usage is Live-Generated, which is described as any kind of content “created with the help of AI tools while the game is running.” This disclosure follows the same rules as Pre-Generated AI content, but developers will also need to put in “guardrails” to ensure the Live-Generated AI is not generating illegal content.

Disclosed details will be included on a game’s Steam page to ensure customers can make informed choices about what titles they purchase, and how they’re spending their money.

“Today’s changes are the result of us improving our understanding of the landscape and risks in this space, as well as talking to game developers using AI, and those building AI tools,” Valve said of the incoming changes. “This will allow us to be much more open to releasing games using AI technology on Steam.”

“It’s taken us some time to figure this out, and we’re sorry that has made it harder for some developers to make decisions around their games. But we don’t feel like we serve our players or developer partners by rushing into decisions that have this much complexity. We’ll continue to learn from the games being submitted to Steam, and the legal progress around AI, and will revisit this decision when necessary.”

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.