With AI art gaining popularity over the past few years, the controversy surrounding it has also grown. Microsoft has recently come under fire after it was caught using AI-generated artwork on its X account ID@Xbox – a faction of its gaming section focused on promoting indie games and developers.
While many creatives have embraced AI tools for productivity, fans have noted the irony of supporting indie devs while simultaneously using AI to create promotional artwork. It doesn’t help that the post was suitably basic and uninspired – arguably not the best way to celebrate indie games and the artists behind them.
At a glance, the artwork is passable at best, featuring a snowy scene with bobble-hatted sledders and scattered gifts. However, upon further inspection, the figures in the scene seem to possess strange smiling faces that have been warped into sinister smiles. Amidst the children, the central character seems to have lost the function of half of his face and is blessed with a strange gaping mouth that could loosely be interpreted as a smile.
Awful art aside, many of Xbox’s followers were disappointed with the choice to use AI art, as they felt that it snubbed the creatives behind the indie games that the account promotes. Given its context as a social engagement post, the AI art is a somewhat careless act, with fans calling it a “lazy” and “disrespectful” endorsement.
Nothing says you care about independent work more than using AI for your promotional art. pic.twitter.com/4rJ6MQD401December 28, 2023
advocating for indie while using “AI” art is a disrespectful choice.December 27, 2023
As someone who worked on one of your indie releases this year, I’m very disappointed to see you use AI art while trying to celebrate us! Most of us are struggling to make a living, and you can’t even be bothered to pay a single illustrator for this post…December 27, 2023
Promoting indie devs while also using AI art has to be the most ironic and counter productive thing I’ve seen from Xbox 💀 https://t.co/x4fPZ15iDlDecember 27, 2023
Xbox has since deleted the post after the flurry of negative backlash, proving that it’s increasingly important for brands to use AI technology sparingly and tastefully. While 2023 has bought us some inspiring AI artworks, it has also been a cautionary tale on how not to use the technology – let’s hope that the new year marks the end of foreign phalanges and uncanny nightmare fuel.
For more AI art fails, take a look at the AI Assassin’s Creed poster that caused a stir among fans or take a look at the AI art fail that had X users in stitches.