Toxicity towards women in gaming has long been one of the culture’s biggest problems. In titles such as Riot’s tactical FPS, Valorant, the issue is particularly pronounced due to voice chat oftentimes being necessary to coordinate play, removing anonymity, and opening women up to sexist abuse. Riot is aware of this and, according to comments made by one employee on Reddit, is working on various solutions to the issue of sexism in Valorant.
Lea, known otherwise as ‘aeneia’, who works in insights and strategy for the studio, recently commented on two separate Reddit posts from women who have faced sexist abuse while playing Valorant. In her initial post, aeneia concedes that “the social experience for minority groups, women included, is awful right now. Especially in voice comms.” However, the studio is “working on it,” she states. “I can’t speak to any details right now, but if all goes to plan, you’ll be hearing from us in the near future with actions and updates.”
Although details are vague, aeniea does note in a separate response that “some [solutions] are well on their way, and others are in the early works.” In the meantime, she stresses the importance of players continuing to make use of the game’s report function. “In any case, it’s critical that you all don’t lose faith in and entirely abandon the reporting system,” she asserts. “I get that it hasn’t done right by you so far. But as we iterate and improve on our behavior systems, those reports will still be an important part of it.”
The Rioter also shares her own experience within Valorant. “I have played so many games where women don’t speak up until after I start talking,” she says. “Once they hear my voice, and they see that no one is giving me crap, they know it’s safe.”
She then shares her hopes for the future. “I cannot wait for the day when I get into agent select and hear other women (or kids, or anyone with a targetable voice) pipe up and say hello first. Because they’ll know it’ll be safe to do so. Because we’ll have cut this obscene shit out of our game.”