Riot Games will listen to your voice conversations. Here’s why it doesn’t matter
Maybe they are already on their best behavior? Developer Riot Games will soon be listening to Valorant players’ voice conversations, the company recently announced – and most people are okay with that.
From July (opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab)13 (opens in a new tab), Riot will launch a “voice rating system” and record in-game voice conversations whenever a report of disruptive behavior is submitted by players. Riot says this will help train its language model to identify disruptive behavior, and says voice rating won’t be used in the reports themselves. They know that “false positives” [and negatives]can happen, admits Riot.
Currently, the developer is focused on improving its technology before launching the official beta later this year. The new system will only register North American players and only those who speak English. TechRadar asked Riot if the beta has an exact launch date and if they plan to roll out the review system internationally, but we didn’t immediately hear back from them.
Riot Games also published a report (opens in a new tab)beginning of February 2022 on its efforts to combat “cat toxicity”. Reading the report, it seems that Valorant has a problem with players using offensive language and harassing others. The developer states that it actively tracks reports submitted by players to then issue appropriate penalties to rule violators. This voice rating system is Riot taking one step closer to eliminating stalkers – with the goal of establishing a positive community.
Average player response
The response from players has been quite surprising. You would think that a game developer openly admitting that it will record players, even if it is to combat harassment, would elicit a larger negative response. But that was not the case.
In comments made on social media and forums, most Valorant players either don’t care if Riot listens to them or are pretty happy with the changes. For those who don’t care, many say they use private Discord calls or other apps whenever they play with friends so this news won’t affect them. (Riot cannot save people on other platforms.)
Satisfied gamers point out that people are too comfortable dropping pejoratives in voice chat. A commenter on the Valorant subreddit (opens in a new tab) said they hoped the system would work because they often faced racism thrown around by other players, and how frustrating it all was.
However, some players were skeptical of Riot’s decision. They are concerned about their privacy and point out that the developer is owned by Chinese conglomerate Tencent. A commentator implies (opens in a new tab) that Tencent would use records for nefarious purposes – something a verified Riot developer tried to quell by claiming that no data will be shared and that it’s about making gaming “a more enjoyable experience”.
If you are interested in Valorant, TechRadar recently explained why gamers find the game so fun.