Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney says that the Epic Games Store will accept games created with generative AI. This is especially interesting since the biggest competitor, Valve, is rejecting games with AI content on Steam.
A developer recently posted on Reddit that his game with AI-generated content was rejected by Steam. The rejection was attributed to an unclear legal situation regarding the intellectual property of generated content.
There have been similar reports in the past. Valve's reason for rejecting games with AI-generated content is that developers cannot prove that they own the rights to the training data of the AI systems.
Developers are allowed to use AI assets in their work, but only with commercial licenses and if they do not violate copyrights. This stance is due to the current unclear legal situation, the company says, and is not against generative AI in general.
Two sides of the AI copyright debate
In response to the developer's complaint, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney suggested on Twitter that the game could be released on the Epic Games Store, which doesn't "ban games for using new technologies."
Of course, Sweeney is deliberately provoking his competition, as Valve is not against generative AI per se, and the company has made that abundantly clear. However, Valve argues that AI-generated content could raise copyright issues.
Sweeney, however, believes that games containing a mix of human-generated and AI-generated content can be protected as a whole, even if some specific assets are not protected on their own.
Both platforms are open to the possibilities of generative AI but are currently approaching the unanswered legal questions very differently, each at one end of the spectrum. Steam puts safety first, Epic is more willing to take risks.
However, Epic Games is primarily putting the studios at risk. If a court were to find that unauthorized generative AI training material constitutes copyright infringement, the studios would likely face more legal pressure than the distribution platform. Especially for indie studios, which may be particularly eager to rely on generative AI for efficiency, this could end badly.