Xbox faces backlash for using AI artwork in indie game promotion

January 3, 2024

Xbox AI

Microsoft’s ID@Xbox, which promotes indie games and developers, was blasted for using AI-generated artwork in its promotions. 

The irony of promoting indie work with AI-generated art certainly didn’t pass people by, with the ensuing criticism seeing Xbox eventually delete the post.

The AI-generated art features a seemingly benign wintry scene with sledders and gifts.

Yet, closer inspection reveals strangely distorted smiling faces and malformed facial features, the hallmark of an AI-generated image.

Image generation AIs like DALL-E 3 and Midjourney have become more efficient at generating text recently, making these types of images realistically achievable. 

Xbox AI
Xbox’s since-deleted post. Source: X.

Xbox’s followers saw this as a snub to the creative talents behind indie games, with some calling it “disappointing” and “insulting.”

One deleted post said, “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…”

Xbox’s AI clanger will go down as a marketing error similar to the AI-generated artwork used for Marvel’s “Secret Invasion” series earlier in the year.

Disney’s show “Prom Pact” was also mocked for its AI-generated extras, which stirred controversy amid the Hollywood actor’s strike last year. 

In the case of Marvel’s “Secret Invasion” series, the show employed AI-generated images in its opening credits, drawing criticism for not utilizing genuine artists. Ali Selim, the show’s director and executive producer, explained the choice as inspired by the shapeshifting themes of the series. 

Fans expressed their displeasure on social media, with some even considering boycotts.

Danny, a Twitter user, criticized Marvel’s decision, highlighting the show’s themes of displacement and imitation, calling it an “absolute failure of the highest magnitude.” 

Brian Long, a director, expressed his disappointment on Twitter, while artist Jon Lam, known for his work on X-Men and Valorant, declared his intention to boycott the series, calling it a “slap in the face of artists and the WGA strike.”

In Xbox’s case, a few disagreed with the critics, suggesting that AI’s use in art is inevitable and that it can be a useful tool for indie developers.

Regardless of whether it’s acceptable or not, the fact Xbox deleted the post illustrates how tetchy this subject is. 

Join The Future


Clear, concise, comprehensive. Get a grip on AI developments with DailyAI

Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


Stay Ahead with DailyAI

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and receive exclusive access to DailyAI's Latest eBook: 'Mastering AI Tools: Your 2024 Guide to Enhanced Productivity'.

*By subscribing to our newsletter you accept our Privacy Policy and our Terms and Conditions