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Valorant

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Developer: Riot Games
Release Date: June 2, 2020

About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'Valorant' Will Start Recording Voice Comms To Combat Disruptive Behavior

by Rainier on April 30, 2021 @ 4:28 p.m. PDT

Valorant is a competitive 5v5 character-based tactical shooter where creativity is your greatest weapon.

Here’s what we think it takes for you to trust a game enough to invest: 128-tick servers, at least 30 frames per second on most min-spec computers (even dating back a decade), 60 to 144 FPS on modern gaming rigs, a global spread of datacenters aimed at <35ms for players in major cities around the world, a netcode we’ve been obsessing over for years, and a commitment to anti-cheat from day one.

Shooting in Valorant is precise, consequential, and highly-lethal - we want you to win on your skill and strategy alone.

Imagine this: tactical shooter meets hypernatural powers. Everyone’s got guns and a unique set of abilities, so how do you beat someone with the speed of wind? Use your own moves to outplay them and beat them to the shot. VALORANT is a game for bold strategists who dare to make the unexpected play, because if it wins, it works.

Riot Games announced how they are updating their Privacy Notice to allow them to record and evaluate voice comms when a report for disruptive behavior is submitted, starting with VALORANT. If a violation is detected, they’ll take action and remove the data when it is no longer needed for reviews. 

They're implementing a new Terms of Service update with an updated global refund policy and adding language around their anti-cheat software for current and future Riot titles.

We want all of our games to be safe and inclusive for everyone who chooses to play them. 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.

TL;DR:  

  • We’re updating our Privacy Notice to allow us to record and evaluate voice comms when a report for disruptive behavior is submitted, starting with VALORANT. If a violation is detected, we’ll take action and remove the data when it is no longer needed for reviews. 
  • We’re implementing a new Terms of Service update with an updated global refund policy and adding language around our anti-cheat software for current and future Riot titles. 
  • Please keep reading to get the full details on why we’re doing this, what’ll happen to your data (and how we’re keeping it safe), and how this will impact you.
The Legal Stuff

Here’s a summary of what’s changing in our Privacy Notice and Terms of Service next month:

Privacy Notice: The update to our privacy notice allows us to record and potentially evaluate voice data when using Riot-owned voice comms channels. When a player submits a report for disruptive or offensive behavior in voice comms, the relevant audio data will be stored in your account’s registered region and evaluated to see if our behavior agreement was violated. If a violation is detected, we’ll take action. After the data has been made available to the player in violation (and is no longer needed 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 a timely manner, the data will be deleted. 

Our Privacy Notice is a Riot-wide policy that requires all players, regardless of their game, to accept the changes. VALORANT is the only available game that currently plans to utilize the ability to record voice data and review it when disruptive voice behavior is reported. Even though the legal document update gives us the ability to capture voice data, League of Legends, Wild Rift, and Teamfight Tactics currently have no plans to record player voice chat or expand the voice chat capabilities beyond party voice chat. Legends of Runeterra does not have any plans to implement voice chat. 

Terms of Service: We’re implementing a new refund policy that will apply across all of our games and regions. This refund policy sets out rules for what can and cannot be refunded, processes for requesting refunds, rules governing refunds related to third-party marketplaces if applicable (like Wild Rift and Teamfight Tactics, which are available on mobile), and other relevant and helpful information. With the launch of Vanguard with VALORANT and some of our future games being protected by a kernel driver, we updated the language about anti-cheat software that we may require you to install to play certain instances of our games. With our current or future games, we’ll always be as transparent as possible about our anti-cheat programs without compromising our solutions. We’ll let you know about any new anti-cheat programs especially with kernel mode drivers well before they’re released and required to be installed. 

More on Voice Evaluation 

Creating an inclusive gaming space means we need to foster an environment of respect, safety, and positivity for all players. VALORANT launched with more comprehensive voice comms than we use with League. And we’re very happy with how VALORANT voice works overall. However, we wanted a more reliable method to prevent disruptive behavior in our voice comms services.

Why focus on voice evaluation?

We’ve been taking a look at disruptive behavior in our games for a while, and voice evaluation is just one of the ways we want to make our games better for everyone who plays them. 

Disruptive behavior on voice comms is a huge pain point for a lot of players. And we believe one of the ways to combat it is by providing quick and accurate ways to report abuse or harassment so we know when to take action. We also need clear evidence to verify violations of behavioral policies before we take action and to help us share with players on why a particular behavior may have resulted in a penalty.

For VALORANT, we recognize there is still work to be done when it comes to the issues surrounding  player behavior. In February, we launched improved AFK detection, new penalties for AFK offenses, text moderation for more than 11 languages, and report feedback so players know when an action has been taken on a report that they submitted. These changes are just some of the improvements we made to build the social experience that our players deserve. In the future, we’ll continue this work by utilizing voice evaluation to eventually launch improved detection and penalties around voice comms.

What about data privacy?

We believe we should collect the absolute minimum data to effectively run our games and continuously improve your experience. When we collect data, we’ll be transparent, we’ll keep it for only as long as is necessary, and we’ll protect it as if it were our own.

We know collecting voice data is a concern for many of you, but be assured that we would never ship anything if we weren’t comfortable having our own data treated the same way. And if you prefer to not have your voice chat captured, you may turn off voice chat. 

Will you actively be listening to me?

No. We won’t actively monitor your live game comms. We’ll only potentially listen to and review voice logs when disruptive voice behavior is reported.

What if I don’t want my voice chat to be potentially recorded?

If you prefer to not have your voice chat captured, you may turn off voice chat.  Participating in voice on our platform means your voice logs are subject to recording and potential processing. 

When will I see voice evaluation happen in games?

Our new behavior systems for voice chat are currently under development. We wanted to provide visibility as early as possible and we’ll begin beta testing with VALORANT in North America before rolling out to other languages and regions.

The VALORANT team will share more information about how it’ll work before they start collecting voice data in the beta and will also notify players in the client before collection starts.

What do these policy updates mean for League, LoR, Wild Rift, and TFT?

The Privacy Notice is a Riot-wide document that requires all active players accept changes. While VALORANT remains the only available game that currently plans to utilize the ability to record and review voice data, our other games (even LoR) use the same policy, meaning they’re subject to the update.

Even though the update gives us the ability to capture voice data, League, Wild Rift, and TFT currently have no plans to record player voice chat or expand the voice comms capabilities beyond party voice chat. LoR currently has no plans to implement voice chat. If our plans change, we’ll notify you first before we start collecting any additional data as we aspire to be as transparent as possible to any data collection. 

What’s Next

We know reducing disruptive behavior is a complex problem that will require a long-term investment and many different approaches to address—particularly in terms of voice comms. There’s still work to be done on this longer journey but we’re committed to providing the social experiences that players deserve when they play our games. We’re exploring other approaches that we believe will improve in-game experiences and we’ll share an update about our plans in the coming months, but we believe that the ability to act on reports of disruptive voice comms is one of the first steps toward a community where we can all play together safely

Valorant (formerly known as Project A) is available on PC as free-to-play.


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