New rules for AI-generated games on the STEAM platform

Eles Karahalilovic, a recent law graduate, dedicated his thesis to copyright and user-generated content in the gaming industry. Here, Eles summarizes the new rules on the STEAM platform.

New rules have been introduced on STEAM for games that use AI technology to create or modify content in a game, such as graphics, code, or gameplay. The purpose of the new rules is to assist game developers in creating new and innovative gaming experiences for their users. STEAM is a marketing platform and distribution service for games and is one of the largest platforms in the world.

AI-generated content can arise in various ways. One way is for AI to use pre-existing content, such as existing data or algorithms, to train AI to create new content in a game. There is also live-generated content, where AI uses input from the player themselves while the game is in progress to tailor the content and thus the player's experience based on their actions.

Through such features, several problems have arisen that need to be addressed. For example, there may be a risk that the generated content is illegal or infringes on someone else's rights, such as copyright or in the form of hate crimes or pornography, which could lead to legal consequences for the game developer or the player themselves. The ethical aspect is also woven in as the generated content may be harmful or offensive to certain players by including violence, cruelty, or nudity, which could ultimately damage both the STEAM platform and the game developer's reputation.

To address these concerns, STEAM has introduced a policy that obligates all game developers to inform customers that their games contain AI-generated material, whether it is pre-generated or live-generated content. Regarding pre-generated content, game developers must, in addition to the duty to inform, confirm that they have the right to use the pre-generated content and that it is not illegal or offensive in any way. Regarding live-generated content, game developers must inform about and describe the protective mechanisms in place to filter out illegal or harmful content that may arise through player actions. Finally, game developers must enable players to flag or report potentially illegal or harmful content in the game and then remove such content.

If a game developer fails to follow these rules, they risk having their game removed from the STEAM platform or facing legal consequences from Valve Corporation, the gaming company behind the platform.


The interview was conducted in 2024.