Overwatch 2 got a fairly substantial mid-season patch last week, which introduced a number of changes for the game’s heroes. Alongside these balancing changes also came the introduction of a new feature designed to address in-game toxicity. Blizzard has detailed how it’ll be rolling out a new audio transcription feature to help stamp out abuse and disruption in voice chat in Overwatch 2.
It’s a sad fact that online shooters in particular are often rife with those who indulge in toxic behaviour in chat channels. Overwatch 2 is no exception, something that Blizzard is taking swift steps to address in the latest update for the game. The feature is, at present, only being rolled out to players on PC platforms in select countries only. However, it’s clear that meeting the challenge of overcoming these negative behaviours is a priority for the developers, given that Overwatch 2 has only been out since the beginning of October.
The audio transcription feature forms part of Blizzard’s Defense Matrix initiative and will allow for the closer examination of transcripts from voice chat recordings. This should help the developers to better identify those taking part in hostile and abusive behaviours in voice chat sessions. The developers have explained the rationale and process for the new bit of tech in the most recent patch notes. “The audio transcription feature has been added with a limited rollout for PC players in select countries,” it explains, adding that “as a piece of our Defense Matrix initiative, audio transcriptions allow us to analyze a transcript from a temporary voice chat recording of a reported player.”
This is being done with full transparency and should encourage players to think about their attitudes and behaviours prior to, during and after a game in Overwatch 2. As explained by Blizzard, “players will now see a notification when entering voice chat for the first time during a play session indicating that voice chat may be recorded. Make sure you report as close to when disruptive behaviour occurred to maximize this feature’s effectiveness.”
Concluding the explanation, Blizzard confirms that “once reported, a temporary audio recording will be used to make a text file transcript through speech-to-text programs. No one listens to the temporary audio recording, which is quickly deleted after being transcribed. Transcriptions are only made for reports of disruptive behaviour in public voice channels, which includes team and match chat—group “party” chat is excluded.”
We’ll have to wait and see if the feature is implemented on console platforms. Either way, it’s another positive step forward in combatting in-game abuse, which can only be a good thing.
Overwatch 2 is available now and is free to play on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC.