If you thought 2023 was a dreadful year in regards to AI taking over, well, I’m afraid the worse is yet to come this year. In just the first couple of weeks in 2024 we’re already seeing AI aggressively becoming more and more prominent, from the media to games alike.

“Back in June,” says the recently posted blog post from Steam, “we shared that while our goal continues to be shipping as many games as possible on Steam, we needed some time to learn about the fast-moving and legally murky space of AI technology, especially given Steam’s worldwide reach.”

Now that a few months have passed, Steam is now allowing the use of AI technology and “release the vast majority of games that use it.”

Not like anyone is going to follow the requirements to submit an AI-generated game on Steam, but the blog post continues with the pre-requisites prior to releasing said game:

Pre-Generated: Any kind of content (art/code/sound/etc) created with the help of AI tools during development. Under the Steam Distribution Agreement, you promise Valve that your game will not include illegal or infringing content, and that your game will be consistent with your marketing materials. In our pre-release review, 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.

Live-Generated: Any kind of content created with the help of AI tools while the game is running. In addition to following the same rules as Pre-Generated AI content, this comes with an additional requirement: in the Content Survey, you’ll need to tell us what kind of guardrails you’re putting on your AI to ensure it’s not generating illegal content. Only “Adult Only Sexual Content” that’s created with AI is prohibited from being released.

They mention that they will use this disclosure during their review process. In addition, if an end-user believes that they are seeing “illegal content inside games that contain Live-Generated AI content” during gameplay, then they can submit a report using the in-game Steam overlay.

The post wraps up with this:

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.

Oh boy. Steam, as it is right now, frankly does a terrible job when it comes to curating games and prohibiting the ones that are made with a half-assed effort. With this move, I can already see Steam becoming a hot pile of AI-generated garbage, loaded with shovelware titles. And who said Valve is actually going to put forth the effort to take a genuine look at the game and see whether or not AI was involved with the development process? Who said the game developer is actually going to put a disclaimer on their Steam store page that some or all of the in-game content was generated with AI?

Get ready. 2024 is going to be a hot mess when it comes to games.

WARNING: LGC will be shutting down March 7, 2024. See this post for more details.