Over 1,000 games using generative AI content are already available on Steam — But are any of them worth playing?

Last year, we reported that Valve wasn’t allowing games using AI art to be listed on its Steam storefront. Fast-forward to today, and following Valve‘s opening the floodgates on AI use in Steam games, we now know there are at least 1,000 AI-powered games on Steam so far. This statistic stems from an analysis by Ichiro Lambe, a 30-year game industry veteran, insider, and developer, on his site Totally Human.

By running a Python script and crawling the Steam Store for the now-required AI usage disclosure message, Lambe found 1,000 games listed relying on generative AI in some way. Usually, this means things like concept art and promo art, but sometimes AI art is also used as an in-game asset or modified before being used as an asset. One example given is The Great Rebellion, a 2D-pixel art roguelike that adapts some AI art into pixelized backgrounds for the game.

Throughout his analysis, Lambe concluded that games leveraging generative AI on Steam do so in one or more of the eight listed categories below.

Current Eight “Categories” of How Steam Games are Using Generative AI

  • Character and NPC Artwork
  • Background and Environmental Artwork
  • Concept Art
  • UI and Icon Graphics
  • Store/Marketing Imagery
  • Voice Acting and Audio
  • Narrative Content
  • Artist’s Tools

Of the specific games mentioned throughout the analysis, the highest-profile release is The Finals from Embark Studios (built by former Dice developers from the acclaimed Battlefield series). The Finals leverages cutting-edge environmental destruction and modern large-scale shooter gameplay while also using AI to generate real-time gameplay commentary. Moral concerns of generative AI usage notwithstanding, this is one of the more seamless implementations of AI into games— particularly in the hands of such experienced developers.

The future points toward generative AI usage becoming more commonplace in games, whether gamers want it or not. Previously, we spoke about plans to make AI-powered “Neo NPCs.” As cool and promising as that does look, we can’t understate the potential negative impacts on the industry and art form as we know it.

Generative AI can potentially disrupt the labor market for artists, writers, voice actors, and other skilled workers who help make video games worth playing. But even if you don’t care about that, any reasonable gamer should be concerned about the long-term future of games that rely on generative AI to function.

As-is, dozens of classic games simply are no longer playable on modern platforms without piracy or community-hosted servers. Sometimes, even those solutions will not be enough to actually keep a game in a playable state — and this is usually just for online multiplayer. 

Instead, imagine the best single-player RPG you’ve ever played — complete with immersive AI-backed NPC conversations — and remember that that game will cost thousands of dollars yearly to keep functioning. Major publishers can’t be trusted to maintain multiplayer servers for more than a few years — why would this be any different?

If you’re worried about your rights as a consumer, game ownership, and game preservation today, you’ll be a lot more worried tomorrow. 

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