I played a lot of Valorant in the two weeks after its release and enjoyed it immensely. Then I was yelled at by a teammate and never played the game again.
Now, Riot says they will start recording voice commands in the game so they can analyze it and “act against players who use voice commands to harass others, use hate speech or otherwise disrupt your experience.” They also acknowledge that this will be a matter of confidentiality for some, but that “if you prefer not to have your voice chat recorded, you can turn off voice chat.”
In a post on the Riot blog, the company explains the changes in their privacy notice, which allow Riot to record and “potentially”
“When a player submits a report of disruptive or offensive behavior in voice communication, the relevant audio data is stored in the registered region of your account and evaluated to see if our conduct agreement was violated. If a violation is detected, we take action After the data is made “available to the player in violation (and no longer required for reviews) the data will be deleted, similar to how we currently handle text-based chat reports. If no violation is detected or if no report is filed in time, the data will be deleted.”
As mentioned above, the post also acknowledges the issue of players’ privacy. “We know that collecting voice data is a concern for many of you, but rest assured that we would never send anything if we were not comfortable getting our own data processed in the same way,” the post reads. “And if you prefer not to record your voice chat, you can turn off voice chat.”
It further explains that Riot does not actively listen to voice communication and “will only potentially listen to and review voice logs when disruptive voice behavior is reported.” The system is also not live yet, but the privacy notice will change before beta testing to begin in North America.
I do not trust any company when it comes to privacy or data, but I think I am most fine with this. It’s not like I’m joining a public server in a video game like Valorant with an expectation of total confidentiality, and voice communication in a video game can be avoided – unlike the real world of Alexas and Cortanas. Voice chat should also definitely be moderated in these online spaces. My miserable experience and abandonment of Valorant seemed inevitable from the moment I started playing, and I say it as a lot less vulnerable to abuse than most others.
Regardless of the moderation of voice communications, the same post outlines changes to the company’s terms of service, which include a new refund policy and updates to the language around anti-cheat software in light of Riot’s use of a core driver in some games.
Meanwhile, Valorant has just got a new sunny card, Breeze and Riot, that need to do something to moderate their own employee’s text chat given the way they recently closed a fan-created classic server.