Steam wants you to report “illegal content” as Valve sets new AI rules

Valve has new rules for AI content on Steam, and asks users to report any content you think falls foul of its restrictions while playing PC games.

Steam changes rules on AI content as Valve asks players to report "illegal content" - The Steam logo over the top of a blurred image of the storefront.

With Steam home to an ever-increasing number of PC games, its developer Valve, also behind many of its most iconic games including Counter-Strike 2, Half-Life, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, and Portal, is refining how it approaches the use of AI content on Steam. In a new update, Valve announces it is “making changes to how we handle games that use AI technology,” which it says “will enable us to release the vast majority of games that use it.” However, it asks you, the players, to keep a sharp eye out for any potential infringements.

When submitting their upcoming PC games to Steam, developers will now be required to fill out an “AI disclosure section, where you’ll need to describe how you are using AI in the development and execution of your game.” Along with using this disclosure when reviewing the game for Steam, Valve says it will also “include much of your disclosure on the Steam store page for your game, so customers can also understand how the game uses AI.

Valve splits this usage into two broad categories. The first is “pre-generated” content (including art, sound, code, or anything else) that’s created with the assistance of AI tools during the development process. Valve says developers must promise “that your game will not include illegal or infringing content, and that your game will be consistent with your marketing materials.”

The second category is “live-generated” content that is created using AI tools while the game is running. Valve says, “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.”

Steam AI rules - Valve statement on AI content types: "First, we are updating the Content Survey that developers fill out when submitting to 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. It separates AI usage in games into two broad categories: 1. 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. 2. 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. Valve will use this disclosure in our review of your game prior to release. We will also include much of your disclosure on the Steam store page for your game, so customers can also understand how the game uses AI."

Alongside these changes, Valve is implementing a new report system for users. “Using the in-game overlay, players can easily submit a report when they encounter content that they believe should have been caught by appropriate guardrails on AI generation.” So if you see anything you think may fall foul of the new guidelines, you can let Valve know – although the developer is yet to make clear what steps it will take in response.

“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 continues. It says the new rules “will allow us to be much more open to releasing games using AI technology on Steam. The only exception to this will be ‘adult only sexual content’ that is created with live-generated AI – we are unable to release that type of content right now.”

Valve also addresses the time it’s taken to reach this decision, with its initial discussion springing up in June after a game featuring AI generation was rejected from Steam. “We’re sorry that has made it harder for some developers to make decisions,” it concludes, “but we don’t feel we serve our players or developer partners by rushing into decisions that have this much complexity.” The developer says it will “continue to learn from the games being submitted to Steam, and the legal progress around AI, and will revisit this decision when necessary.”

If you’re looking for something new to play, you can take a look at the best PC games, many of which can be found on Valve’s storefront, or instead browse the best free Steam games.

You can also follow us on Google News for daily PC games news, reviews, and guides, or grab our PCGN deals tracker to net yourself some bargains.