Can Games on Steam Use AI-Generated Content?

Valve’s stance on AI content in games on its Steam platform is clear, but not everyone knows how to track AI content in their games.

ai content in game son steam featured image

Image via Valve

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AI-generated content seems to be everywhere, and more and more companies are announcing its integration into their workplace daily. Regardless of the industry, it seems AI is becoming part of the workforce, which means even games are susceptible to containing AI content.

AI is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but many people aren’t certain what it means. For some, AI is the next generation of life forms created by humans– a race of machines that can think for themselves. For others, AI is a tool to speed up work processes. From what we’ve seen, the latter is the most common practice, and companies like Steam need to take a stance on AI-generated content in games.

Related: GTA Mod Turns AI Characters Into Conversationalists With Player Mic

Can Games Sold on Steam Use AI-Generated Content?

main character in stray souls
Image via Jukai Studio

Yes, games sold on Steam are allowed to use AI-generated content, but with a few caveats. The first big concession developers agree to if they use AI-generated content in their game and want to sell it through Steam is that the marketplace will place a disclaimer stating the game uses AI-generated content. Depending on their stance on AI content, this may prevent some potential players from even playing the game’s demo.

As with any game that comes to Steam, staff will play the game from start to finish and review it for any potential conflicts with the platform’s terms of service. The terms of service were updated in January 2024 to include an entire section on AI-generated content, so there are clear limitations to what AI can be used for in games on Steam.

Steam has two categories for AI content: Pre-generated and live-generated.

  • Pre-generated content includes images, voicework, and anything else that has been created and put into the game before it even runs. This content exists in every version of the game.
  • Live-generated content is content that an AI generates as the game is being played, which could include artwork and dialogue.

All AI-generated content must not contain content rated as Adult Only. It must also not include any illegal content or content that may infringe on existing copyrights. Furthermore, the developer must provide Steam with the details of how live-generated content has been limited so that it won’t infringe on existing copyrights or contain adult-only and illegal content.

We have no idea how a developer is meant to do this. Creating images and text using AI always results in content that must be reviewed for mistakes, as all human-created work does. The fact that Steam requires these details indicates that Valve staff clearly know how to do it and expect developers to do so as well.

Can You Report AI-Generated Content in Games on Steam?

ai dungeon screenshot
Image via Latitude

Yes, Steam has a function where players can report AI-generated content in games. However, this function is meant to point out illegal content and content that infringes on existing copyrights, not simply all examples of AI content.

However, we’d argue that it’s in Steam’s interest to report AI-generated content in a game if that game doesn’t contain the AI content disclaimer on its Steam page. If players notice something Steam staff don’t, then it’s in the best interest of everyone involved to report it.