In context: Anyone that's played online games competitively for more than a few hours has probably run into a few less-than-pleasant teammates. There are bitter DPS players that feel they're the only competent member of the team and frustrated support players with allies that continuously run into groups of enemies and die. We've all seen them, and we've all heard their angry rants.
Unfortunately, some players go beyond lamenting the poor skill of their teammates and descend into the realm of "toxicity" -- where the slurs, "hate speech," and harassment starts to come out. Though muting these players is always an option, it's also one some players are getting tired of exercising.
Those individuals have been calling for game developers to tackle this complex problem directly for years. While many developers are still working on solutions, Riot has just announced one that might fit the bill: moving forward, the developer will begin recording and temporarily storing voice chat in Valorant. This new policy will only apply to North America at first.
When a player gets reported for their behavior in a match, Riot will review the corresponding recording to determine whether or not there were any rule violations. After resolving the matter, Riot says the recording will be removed, as it is "no longer needed."
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
Riot says the only way for players to avoid having their voice recorded is to turn off voice chat entirely. However, the company says it won't "actively monitor" live game comms -- it will only listen after a report is filed.
Player reactions to this news have been mixed, to say the least. Some don't feel comfortable with yet another company having access to their data, whereas others feel public voice chat isn't a private medium to begin with, thus there is no problem with having it recorded.
It remains to be seen whether or not Riot will stick to its guns here, but if nothing else, this news will likely act as a deterrent to any potential rulebreakers. If they're the type to harass their fellow players, they might think twice if they know a few employees at Riot HQ will be listening in later.