Legal Challenges in the Games Industry in 2023

It’s a new year! And wow, the landscape is a lot different as we collectively went from a global pandemic to a global recession. Here are our thoughts and predictions on 2023 as the world continues to be a relatively unpredictable place.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to be a big focus as businesses within the games industry and in other entertainment fields. As more organizations use AI tools in prototyping and even intertwine it with entire processes from beginning to end, terms of service for how AI tools are used will become critical.

Sourcing for those AI training tools will be called into question and make Fair Use arguments – we anticipate in the 9th circuit but thats largely wild speculation. 

As noted by SAG-AFTRA, “Artificial intelligence is opening new frontiers in digital manipulation, and while it is new territory, it doesn’t have to be scary, as long as we stay informed about the potential hazards” with regards to AI use for impersonation and publicity rights.

Odin prediction: It’s going to be a messy year as technology has far outpaced legal precedent again. The courts will hear cases about these things and we’ll all learn together as things progress.


Speaking of SAG-AFTRA and unionization, we were right last year. Unionization has a foothold in the games industry. It’s happening. 

Odin prediction: Who will follow in Microsoft’s footsteps as ZeniMax unionized in December? We have no idea but this is an important part of the conversation in the games industry. 

Crypto implosion

The implosion of crypto may have been predictable (it was both unexpected and not) but the scale of losses suffered by many firms will have ripple effects on game finance deals for the next few years. 

Odin prediction: SBF of FTX fame will not be the only crypto leader who goes to jail within the next few years. Due to the crypto implosion and alleged fraud, investors will also want to see better financials in the companies they’re investing into which could make getting financing more expensive.

Antitrust enforcement

At the top of the AAA games industry, antitrust enforcement will slow M&A in high-profile mergers. However, smaller acquisitions and consolidations near the small and middle tiers of the industry will still be common.

We saw the beginnings of this in 2021 and we’re nowhere near the end of it yet. We are watching to see what happens between Microsoft, Activision, and the FTC.

Odin prediction: Smaller publishers and international conglomerates comprised of indie-sized studios will grow although M&A may not grow as much as it has in previous years.


There is truly no telling where the global economy will land in terms of inflation within the next 12 months. Plenty of brilliant analysts have great insights and guesses. We are not those analysts. We are lawyers.

Odin prediction: Inflation will inevitably drive game prices up. This may, however, lead to more game subscriptions and streaming services increasing in popularity – meaning businesses need to be savvy on how those licensing terms and agreements function before accidentally signing away critical rights.

User Generated Content

User Generated Content (UGC) is still a big deal in this space as we noted over the past two years. 

More importantly, as we noted previously, the rise of AI tools will make UGC even more common as complex content becomes easier to make. Quality may suffer and audiences may still crave professional content but consumers may become overwhelmed with choice – a good example being how we watched linear TV evolve into the current landscape we have now with YouTube and streaming fulfilling niche categories with fewer gatekeepers involved.

Odin prediction: It remains to be seen how AI will play into this space but we still feel like there may finally be a big regulatory crackdown on the gray areas of who (business or user) currently owns what within UGC.

Content creators & esports

We anticipated the growing power of creators in 2022 and that seems to be on the rise, especially as esports teams pivot more towards creators and esports publishers are starting to share revenue more (and will need to do so if they want esports as a whole to survive).

One issue to note will be monitoring immigration policies. Immigration is an area disproportionately impacted by agency operations – it’s a part of the law that needs more support but 2022 isn’t likely the year it’ll happen due to US legislature gridlock.

Odin prediction: There will be an increase in live shows and bigger content creator events. In some ways, we’re coming back full circle toward TV-like schedules and synchronous events.


The FTC will be more closely following potential COPPA violations after their big fine in 2022 for things like “design tricks, known as dark patterns,” on minors. Game developers and publishers will need to seriously think more on complying with COPPA.


We still have no idea what the metaverse will look like. 2022 didn’t help clear that up at all. Sorry, folks.

Some of our past predictions

We still stand by our past predictions (in 2020, 2021, and 2022) about transmedia. We’re seeing this unfold and it will continue to unfold in the next decade. Interactive TV experiences and other games not requiring a PC or console will grow in popularity (especially as cloud computing grows). We’re seeing a bit of that blur as PC-focused developers often now consider how games play on Steam Deck or mobile platforms as the smaller hardware space has accelerated.

Privacy rights are still an evolving conversation. The United States is still one of the few developed countries without federal standardization. Maybe we’ll see change on that front by 2024, but with an election cycle starting earlier than ever, who knows?

Have any thoughts or very strong opinions on our predictions for 2023? Let us know! We’re happy to hear different opinions on what the future holds.

Brandon J. Huffman

Brandon is the founder of Odin Law and Media. His law practice focuses on transactions and video games, digital media, entertainment and internet related issues. He serves as general counsel to the International Game Developers Association and is an active member of many bar associations and community organizations. He can be reached at brandon at odin law dot com.

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