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Valorant will start recording voice chat to curb toxicity

Valorant
(Image credit: Riot)

Riot Games will begin recording Valorant voice chat in an effort to combat toxicity.

In the Q&A section of an update to its privacy policy, Riot confirms that it won't actively listen in on Valorant games, and that it'll only review voice chat recordings "when disruptive voice behavior is reported." The only way to avoid potentially having your Valorant voice chats recorded is by turning off voice chat.

"We want all of our games to be safe and inclusive for everyone who chooses to play them," Riot Games writes in an update to its privacy policy. "We know disruptive behavior using our voice chat is a concern for a lot of players, and we're committed to addressing it more effectively. In order for us to take action against players who use voice comms to harass others, use hate speech, or otherwise disrupt your experience, we need to know what those players are saying. Which is why, moving forward we'll need the ability to analyze voice data."

Again, this doesn't mean Riot devs will be listening to your conversations in Valorant; just that if a player submits an abuse report, the studio can get an audio log to judge for itself whether someone's behavior warrants its intervention. Plus, recordings are only stored for a brief time while Riot reviews them, after which they're deleted just like text-based chat reports. This is a meaningful, and notably atypical step toward creating a better multiplayer experience for everyone, but especially for marginalized groups, who are more often the targets of online harassment.

While it's just Valorant's voice chat Riot is recording for now, the wording in the update makes it sound like the policy could extend to other games in the future. "While Valorant remains the only available game that currently plans to utilize the ability to record and review voice data, our other games (even [Legends of Runeterra]) use the same policy, meaning they're subject to the update," Riot says.

Though it deserves credit for taking a more active approach to toxic players, Riot acknowledges that the work doesn't end here and says to expect further improvements "in the coming months." Valorant voice recording will begin beta testing in North America before expanding into other languages and regions.

For now, put the jerks in their place with these essential Valorant tips.

As GamesRadar's Arizona-based Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish. Probably drinking green tea.