Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has opened up about the use of AI tools in game development. He also threw shade at Steam, saying that the EGS doesn’t ban titles for “using new technologies.”
The whole thing started over the weekend, when one developer wrote on Reddit that Steam has banned their game for the use of an optional ChatGPT mode. The story also went viral on X (Twitter), with Y Combinator CEO Garry Tan calling Valve’s anti-AI stance “idiotic.”
Tim Sweeney eventually appeared in the comments (spotted by Game Developer), encouraging the developer to put their title on the Epic Games Store. “We don’t ban games for using new technologies,” he wrote.
Put it on the Epic Games Store. We don’t ban games for using new technologies.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 2, 2023
The Epic Games boss then elaborated on the matter, saying that all the concerns about AI-generated assets make sense, a “product that contains a lot of human made content plus some AI content can be protected as a whole, even if it some specific assets alone aren’t protected.”
“My view is that, while one could abuse generative AI as a copying mechanism by overtraining or conditioning it to intentionally reproduce something substantially similar to a particular work (just as a human artist can), that’s not usually the case,” he noted.
Sweeney added that Epic Games doesn’t train genAI on any customer content on its own services or marketplaces: “These are just my thoughts on why we shouldn’t assume all generative AI is terrible or infringing.”
And if it were the case, it’s hard to see how it wouldn’t lead by similar reasoning to the conclusion that every work done by a human artist is a derivative work of everything that artist has ever seen, by virtue of it contributing to the wiring of the neurons in their brain.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 3, 2023
This is not the first time Sweeney has shared his thoughts on AI. Last year, he commented on the controversy around ArtStation (owned by Epic Games) and protests from digital artists. “I don’t want Epic to be a company that stifles innovation. Been on the wrong side of that too many times,” he said at the time.
When it comes to Valve’s stance on AI, earlier this year several developers complained that Steam was banning their games for the use of AI-generated assets. The company then explained that the main reason was “legal uncertainty relating to data used to train AI models.”
“We welcome and encourage innovation, and AI technology is bound to create new and exciting experiences in gaming,” Valve said in a statement. “While developers can use these AI technologies in their work with appropriate commercial licenses, they can not infringe on existing copyrights.”