It’s been a year and a half since a Kotaku expose blew the lid off of flagrantly sexist and abusive behavior at Riot Games, which also means there’s been a year for things to change, and according to a self-published progress report, things have indeed changed, though incrementally so.
The post offers up charts that show that women staffers make up 22% of the company’s worldwide workforce in 2019, an increase of 1%. In the US, hiring of underrepresented minorities, which are classed by the graph as people of black or African American, Native American or Alaskan Native, or Hispanic and Latin origin, also rose 1% overall. New female hirings globally went up from 27% to 31%, while minority hirings in the US rose from 6% to 12%. A great bulk of the post also points to a number of initiatives that Riot is taking part in to address and support inclusion and diversity.
The post admits that Riot needs to improve, promising that it will focus on more global inclusion and hold the company’s leadership to account, including central function leaders as well as Riot’s CEO. It also mentions the ongoing class action lawsuit that saw some of the plaintiffs change counsel after California intervened on the settlement amount.
“Our first priority is, and will continue to be, doing the right thing by Rioters. And we remain committed to reaching the right outcome. We’ve made a genuine effort to own our past and to be transparent in our actions, and we’ll stay focused on creating a path forward where Riot is a great place to work for everyone. It is in that spirit that we will continue our negotiations.”
Meanwhile, Riot continues to make adjustments to some of the wider problems with its multiplayer team shooter Valorant. One of these issues is the matter of player behavior in-game, which was first brought up by one of Riot’s own UI designers in a Twitter video of someone harassing her in voice chat. The tweet drew a response from Valorant’s executive producer Anna Donlan which was further elaborated on in a dev blog:
“I’ll be super real here: harassment and bullying in games is not a status quo I’m comfortable accepting. […] We’ve learned to mute ourselves in order to keep the peace. And as a result, we have a competitive experience that can feel compromised. We often find ourselves at a disadvantage.
“I can’t solve society, and some of these issues are really, really deeply entrenched. But what I can say is that Riot takes this seriously. I can also say that as the leader of the Valorant team, I’ve personally made this a priority for the game and will invest the resources necessary. This is a priority for us, not just in the short-term, but for as long as it takes to reassure a player—any player—that as long as they play to win in Valorant and respect their fellow human beings, they’ll be guaranteed a similar experience in return.”
Finally, the shooter’s anti-cheat system Vanguard is once more in the news, with reports from players saying the process is causing conflicts with software and drivers tied to cooling systems, keyboards, mice, and GPUs, with some reporting overheating as a result of Vanguard’s interference. A hotfix was released this past Thursday that adds more compatibility with “cheat-vulnerable drivers.”
Anti-cheat lead Paul Chamberlain further elaborated on Vanguard changes going forward, promising that the devs will into more non-blocking solutions. “We may still need to block drivers from time to time but it’ll be our last resort,” he writes. “We will prefer a non-invasive solution if one exists, including stopping the game from launching.”