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A hot potato: Riot Games' previously announced policy of recording Valorant's in-game player voice chats as a way of combating toxicity will begin on July 13 in the US. This initial phase won't see the recordings used as evidence when a player's behavior is reported but for training Riot's language models.
It's been just over a year since Riot Games revealed plans to record and temporarily store voice chat in Valorant (download here). The company plans to use the recordings whenever someone's disruptive/toxic behavior is reported to check if any rules were broken. Once the logs have been examined for violations, the recordings are removed. Riot said it won't be actively monitor live chat; it will only check voice logs after a report has been submitted.
Riot emphasizes in its announcement post that these initial recordings from English-speaking US players won't be used to assess behavior but to help train its language models, thereby helping "get the tech in a good enough place for a beta launch later this year."
We're committed to making our games better for everyone who plays them. This is another step toward tackling disruptive behavior across the board, starting with @PlayVALORANT. Stay tuned for more from our Central Player Dynamics team! https://t.co/wD6vErtlzo— Riot Games (@riotgames) April 30, 2021
"We know that before we can even think of expanding this tool, we'll have to be confident it's effective, and if mistakes happen, we have systems in place to make sure we can correct any false positives (or negatives for that matter)," Riot added.
Having your voice comms recorded, even when it's for the purpose of identifying and banning players who can make the experience miserable for others, is always going to prove controversial. Riot says those who don't want to be part of the recordings will have to ensure voice chat is turned off.
Earlier this year, Valorant gave players the option of selectively censoring specific words in the chat settings.