Perhaps they are already on their best behavior? Developer Riot Games will soon be listening to Valorant player voice chats, the company recently announced – and most people are fine with that.
from july (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)13 (opens in new tab), Riot will roll out a “voice rating system” and record in-game voice chats whenever a report of disruptive behavior is submitted by players. Riot says this will help train its language model to identify disruptive behavior, and claims that voice assessment will not be used in the reports themselves. They know that “false positives [and negatives]” can happen, admits Riot.
Suppressing the interruption
Right now, the developer is focused on making their technology the best it can be before releasing the official beta later this year. The new system will only record North American players and only those who speak English. asked Riot if the beta has an exact release date and if it plans to release the rating system internationally, but we didn’t have an immediate response.
The voice rating system comes as Riot Games is attacking disruptive behavior in Valorant. The company has updated its Terms of Service as of April 2021 (opens in new tab) which now claims that Riot has the ability to “record and evaluate voice communications when a report of disruptive behavior is submitted.” Therefore, if you have agreed to the Terms of Service, you are subject to being registered.
Riot Games also published a report (opens in new tab)in early February 2022 about their efforts to combat “chat toxicity”. Reading through the report, it appears that Valorant has a problem with players engaging in offensive language and harassing others. The developer claims that it actively tracks reports submitted by players and then handles appropriate punishments for rule breakers. This voice rating system is Riot taking another step towards eliminating harassers – with the goal of establishing a positive community.
Intermediate player response
The players’ response was quite surprising. You would think that a game developer openly admitting that it will record players, even if it is to combat harassment, would provoke a greater negative response. But that was not the case.
In comments made on social media and forums, most Valorant players either don’t mind Riot listening to them or are quite happy with the changes. For those who don’t mind, many say they use private Discord calls or other apps whenever they play games with friends so this news doesn’t affect them. (Riot cannot record people on other platforms.)
Players who are happy point out that people are very comfortable spouting pejoratives in voice chat. ONE commentator on the Valorant subreddit (opens in new tab) said they expect the system to work because they often deal with racism thrown in by other players and how frustrating it all is.
Some players were skeptical of Riot’s move, however. They are concerned about their privacy and point out that the developer is owned by Chinese conglomerate Tencent. One commentator hinted (opens in new tab) that Tencent would use recordings for some sort of nefarious purpose – something a verified Riot developer tried to clamp down on claiming that no data will be shared and that it’s all about making the game “a more enjoyable experience”.
If you are interested in Valorant, recently detailed why gamers find the game so fun.