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Valorant's New Feature Has Fans In An Uproar

Online games with voice chats can get to be pretty toxic, and "Valorant" is no exception. In a recent survey asking fans what they think the most toxic game is, the tactical shooter grabbed nearly 10% of the votes. Whether it's non-stop music being blared over someone's mic or an actual troll coming to ruin your competitive game, pretty much everyone has seen toxic players pop up in voice chat. Riot Games, the developer of "Valorant," has revealed that it's planning to record portions of voice chats in order to punish toxic players — and the decision hasn't been very popular among fans.

On April 30, Riot Games announced that the company "[needs] the ability to analyze voice data" in order to "take action against players who use voice comms to harass others, use hate speech, or otherwise disrupt [players'] experience." The announcement went on to say that voice communications in-game will be saved temporarily if there's a report of a toxic player using voice chat. From there, the information can be reviewed by the appropriate channels and deleted afterward.

Riot has reassured fans that the company will not be listening in all of the time, and that this measure is only being implemented to curb toxic players. Even so, fans were extremely upset — some even likened the action Riot Games has taken to Communism. Twitter saw plenty of legal discussions, and multiple users claimed that Riot's plan is illegal in the United States. However, what the "Valorant" developer plans to do actually be considered illegal for a variety of reasons.

As software engineer Eric Hobbs explained on Twitter, Riot has updated the Terms and Conditions for "Valorant," meaning that players are giving their consent to be recorded by participating in voice chat. Hobbs also pointed out that is effectively no different than other companies saying, "this call may be monitored for quality control." Additionally, Hobbs remarked that no company in the United States was successfully sued for anything to do with recording information, so there's no precedent for the game not to record voice chats, as long as the player gives consent.

Beyond concerns about legality, many fans were irate because the new policy seemed to them like an invasion of privacy. However, for those who have had to be on the receiving end of countless racist and/or sexist remarks through the game, this action was generally seen as a positive step. Streamers like Pokimane have shared the toxic comments they've received while playing and streaming "Valorant," and that's just from text chat. Some gamers seem to be pleased with the idea of having an extra bit of protection from trolls in voice chat. 

This isn't the first time that "Valorant" fans have been upset over the game's policies — the game's anti-cheat software was considered "invasive" and upsetting at first, too.