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What is SBMM and Who is to Blame For It?

What is SBMM and Who is to Blame for it?

Skill Based Match Making or SBMM has been the center of controversy for quite some time. For those unfamiliar with the term, SBMM is a type of matchmaking that places individuals in lobbies with players of similar competence. The service takes into account wins, kills per game, and score per minute to best determine a player’s next lobby.

Infinity Ward, the developer behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, has received most of the blame for the matchmaking service, but is it their fault? Here is a look at how SBMM affects Call of Duty and why the significant flaws of Modern Warfare lie with Activision, not Infinity Ward.

How SBMM Affects Call of Duty

The idea behind improving is to have a more rewarding experience. Unfortunately, with SBMM, that will rarely happen, especially if you are a higher tier player.

Some SBMM issues players might run into include:

  • Partying up with friends of a lower skill level is impossible
  • Longer wait times to find a lobby
  • Consistently having to be on top of your game (both Multiplayer and Warzone)
  • Improvement becomes stagnant
  • No incentive to grind the game

Activision: What They Say Goes

Activision is the publisher and distributor of the highly acclaimed Call of Duty Series. Founded in 1979, the company has stated that they are a “leading worldwide developer, publisher, and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products for various consoles, handheld platforms, and the PC. They strive to make the most fun, thrilling, and engaging entertainment experiences for [their] players, who live in a world with many entertainment options.”

While their mission statement may be true for their other AAA games, it is hard to look at their Call of Duty titles in the same light.

Condrey Speaks Out

Since the game’s inception back in October, Modern Warfare has received an onslaught of hate. Michael Condrey, former studio head of Sledgehammer Games, has taken the brunt of it, some going as far to say he ruined Call of Duty. But, after Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag tweeted his disappointment with SBMM and no ranked play, Michael Condrey finally spoke out. Furthermore, the SBMM impacts the experience for new players as other players using Warzone hacks often use the cheats on new accounts. It will be very hard for especially new players to compete against other players using features such as Aimbot and ESP.

Condrey stated, “Ask ATVI (Activision). Never directed into COD from me. Analytics, SB matchmaking, monetization, dedi server coverage, etc. all driving from ATVI central tech and production teams. Frustratingly little influence on those corp decisions despite their impact on our games and the COD community.”

While that isn’t to say Infinity Ward shouldn’t take some of the blame (they keep the newcomers near and dear to their hearts), Activision is just as much at fault here. At the end of the day, it is about the business of making money and maximizing profits even if that means implementing systems that anger the league’s professionals.

Fortunately, Call of Duty only has a year’s life cycle and a three developer rotation. That means that there is a new Call of Duty just around the corner. And, with a new CoD, hopefully, a new mindset will follow. Fingers crossed the focus will shift from casual to competitive as the franchised Call of Duty League enters year two.

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Watch the Call of Duty League live here.

Featured photo via Infinity Ward.

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