9 May 2023
The video games industry has been using artificial intelligence (AI) for decades. Looking back as far as to the vacuum-tube computer age (1950s) the first chess machines capable of playing chess or reduced chess-like games entered the market. Only 40 years later (1997), chess engines running on super-computers or specialized hardware were capable of defeating even the best human players. Although the use of AI is not new to the video games industry, the recent rise of new technologies like Chat GPT or Stable Diffusion, may change the way games are designed, developed, and experienced.
The simple entry barrier makes generative AI models like Chat GPT feel more exciting and demonstrable, as, with simple prompts, pictures and even computer code can be drafted within seconds. But as we all know “with great power comes great responsibility” or at least a lot of associated legal issues.
What is generative AI?
Generative AI works by learning patterns and structures from a huge volume of data sets / content. This data typically consists of text, images, or other forms of media such as music or computer code. The trainings data for an AI model can be obtained from various sources, such as publicly available datasets like Common Crawl, by scraping the web or mining open-source repositories. Once the AI tool is trained to recognize certain patterns it can generate output based on a text input (prompt). In the video games industry, there are many potential use cases, reaching from art, music, computer code to level design, pitches and marketing materials.
With generative AI there is also a possibility to increase player experience in-game by creating life-like situational developments. This ensures that gamers are hooked to the game. The following list is a non-exhaustive enumeration of use cases:
With the rise of use-cases numerous legal issues are associated. However, the issues are even more complicated as video games are multi-jurisdictional products and each jurisdiction has its own laws and courts. The following are a few examples of those issues mostly from an Austrian and EU perspective, which will be looked into in further detail in the coming issues of this article-series.
Legal issues with generative AI
The potential legal consequences additional to the typical fines for the violations of data protection laws are far reaching. The affected parties can claim for cease & desist, removal of the video game from the stores and compensation for damages. Furthermore, it is standard practice to claim for a publication of the court decision on the website, the game store and/or the video game itself. Last but not least, in case of unfair competition claims, it is also possible that the claimant is a competitor.
In order to stay on top of the curve AI is essential, but its use can produce significant legal issues. Given that the EU and other countries are currently working on regulations for AI, the possible legal issues are likely to increase. Therefore, it is necessary to minimise liability and assess AI tools to mitigate connected risks early in the integration process of AI.
Watch out for more articles on this topic to follow!