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Update: Wizards of the Coast responds to claims it used AI in Magic: The Gathering

Wizards of the Coast is being accused by fans of using Ai in a recent promotional image.

Update: Wizards of the Coast has now acknowledged that its recent marketing images "may have included elements of generative AI," and in a statement has said "what's now apparent is that we need to update the way we work with vendors on creative beyond our products—like marketing images we use on social media—to make sure that we’re supporting the amazing human ingenuity that is so important to Magic... We can’t promise to be perfect in such a fast-evolving space, especially with generative AI becoming standard in tools such as Photoshop, but our aim is to always come down on the side of human made art and artists."

Original story below.

Magic: The Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast has been accused of using AI-generated art in a recent promo image, leading one artist to cut ties with the company.

Earlier this week, the official Magic: The Gathering Twitter account shared an image showing off some upcoming cards, and while the cards are looking great, the picture they're contained in looks a bit off. As numerous users pointed out, it looks like the image might have been, at least in part, generated by AI. It's difficult to prove something like that, but a closer look at the image shows some strange elements which AI-generated images tend to have, so it is possible.

In reply to the original tweet, the MTG Twitter account wrote, "We understand confusion by fans given the style being different than card art, but we stand by our previous statement. This art was created by humans and not AI." In response, artist Dave Rapoza, who has done art for Magic: The Gathering previously, as well as IP like Marvel and Destiny, quoted this tweet saying "And just like that, poof, I’m done working for wizards of the coast - you can’t say you stand against this then blatantly use AI to promote your products, emails sent, good bye you all!"

In another tweet, Rapoza clarified that he's "I’m quitting because they took a moral stand against AI art like a week ago and then did this, if they said they were going to use AI that’s a different story, but they want to grand stand like heroes and also pull this, that’s goofball s**t I won’t support."

Wizards of the Coast recently put out a statement in December saying that is requires "artists, writers, and creatives contributing to the Magic TCG to refrain from using AI generative tools to create final Magic products," but if the recent image does use AI, it'd obviously be going back on its statement quite quickly.

Again, it's entirely possible the art wasn't made by AI at all, and just looks a bit funky, but much like NFTs and blockchain before it, AI is the latest fad that tech companies are desperate to use as investors love it. In the case of AI, it's awful in a different way, as there's a strong fear that it will lead to less work for artists of any kind, and it's part of why both screenwriters and actors went on strike last year. Let's just hope this fad dies out as quickly as NFTs did.

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