Pokémon Company Disqualifies AI-Generated Entries in 2024 Card Illustration Contest

After fans complained about questionable artworks amongst the 300 finalists.

Art
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The Pokémon Company’s meteoric rise in popularity during the ’90s happened through a number of mediums, most notably in the Japanese franchises’s hit TV series, handheld video game and trading cards. Next to Magic: The Gathering, there arguably isn’t a card game that garnered more of a following than Pokémon and has been the subject of fan fervor ever since, with organizer’s of the game occasionally holding contests, where several lucky fans can submit their best illustrations to be printed in circulation.

2024’s iteration of the contest has been mired in controversy, however, as The Pokémon Company recently disqualified a number of artists for submitting work allegedly made with artificial intelligence (AI). On June 14, 300 of the top entries were displayed online, but fans quickly took to X to raise suspicions: “Can we talk about how these entries are clearly all from the same person breaking the 3 submissions limit, and happen to be in a very “AI-adjacent” style?” wrote Rachel Briggs.

After a series of complaints, The Pokémon Company acknowledged the breach and disqualified entries believed to have used AI, adding that “additional artists participating in the contest will soon be selected to be among the top 300 finalists.” AI has been a major topic of discourse regarding copyright infringement and artists rights within the creative industry. The Pokémon debacle joins a long list of similar incidents, from AI-generated work winning photography contests to the inverse, a real image disguised as a Trojan Horse of sorts to win an AI contest.

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