Players of Pokemon GO have accused Niantic of exploiting AI-generated artwork to advertise the new season of the game. Due to the opportunity to actually train Pokemon, players appreciate Pokemon GO. However, Pokemon GO has also generated its fair share of issues and controversy.
Pokemon GO frequently encounters controversy, which has led to reactions from the public. Due to the new Routes feature, Zygarde’s Special Research became problematic for Pokemon GO users in July. But the introduction of Pokemon GO’s Remote Raids was one of the most divisive topics in the app’s history. Many Pokemon GO users were upset about the change to the way remote raids operate, and some of them sold their accounts and quit playing the game as a result. Currently, Pokemon GO is the subject of a fresh debate that has nothing to do with gameplay.
Some users claim Niantic is promoting Pokemon GO Season 12 using AI-generated art. One of the pieces of art, titled Adventures Abound, features the season’s emblem with a city in the background. Pokemon GO players discovered an irregular and incredibly blurry lineart, which distorts and ends abruptly and causes the image to lack cohesiveness upon closer study. Pokemon GO players also claimed that the picture appeared to have been thrown together, with odd elements like a car that doesn’t appear to be moving. The absence of Pokemon in the picture and the general impression that it lacks the “soul” of Pokemon art are further issues raised by players.
In a response to Kotaku, Niantic stated that it “uses a variety of tools and software to create visual assets,” but did not confirm or deny the usage of AI-generated art. The usage of AI in the entertainment industry is generating a great deal of controversy since, despite claims from artists that AI steals their creations, AI tools are becoming more common. Marvel even used AI for the opening of Secret Invasion. The use of AI to replicate voice actors’ voices has also been criticised in the gaming industry by people like Yuri Lowenthal (Spider-Man), Paul Eiding (Metal Gear Solid), and Erica Lindbeck (Persona 5).
According to Niantic, the usage of AI techniques is neither confirmed nor denied in the advertising imagery for Pokemon GO Season 12. This is to be expected, as Niantic usually avoids addressing the controversy surrounding Pokemon GO directly. As a result, it won’t be shocking if Pokemon GO users continue to be critical of the developer over the prospective use of a contentious feature.