• Is SBMM good for casual gamers?

    Posted on 25-07-22 by Admin

    Brendan Wilson-McGarry is a Delivery Consultant in our Technology division focussing on roles in the video gaming industry.  Here he looks at skill-based match making (SBMM) and what that means for the casual gamer.


    What is SBMM?

    SBMM stands for skill-based match making and does exactly what it says on the tin. It matches gamers up against opponents of a similar skill level. On the surface this makes a lot of sense to keep beginners in different lobbies than eSports Professionals but what is the results for average, casual gamers?


    SBMM has been around in some form or another for many years. Just look at any game such as Fifa which has a division system and the more games you win the higher up you go in the divisions only playing other players in your division. The largest and most controversial change from the gaming community was when it was introduced to Call of Duty (COD) and especially Warzone. SBMM is rumoured to be in the new COD coming out later this year with apparent changes (much needed?)

    What this looks like in COD

    The average K/D (kill to death ratio) in Warzone is 0.92. Therefore, a player with a 0.8 K/D is a below average player and if you have a K/D of below 0.4 this player would be in the bottom 20% of players or also known as a BOT! A K/D of around 1.5 to 2.0 puts players in the top 10% of players.

    What factors are considered?

    Although the algorithm for working this out is not confirmed Youtubers and Streamers have in the past experimented with different factors to work out what does affect the lobby you will be put into. It is indicated that your previous 5 matches are the biggest influence on the lobbies you will be placed in. The worse you do/ the better the opponents you are against then the lower ranked your next lobbies will be and vice versa. Others have indicated factors such as accuracy, headshot percentage One theory by the gaming community for a while was that once you made a microtransaction within the game you would be treated to easier lobbies immediately after.

    The Controversy

    Due to how few people have very high K/d’s such as 2.0 and above the lobbies often stretch to include anyone who is over a 1.0 K/D. Meaning a casual 1.3 K/D player (me) will more than likely be either playing my skill level or potentially a full team of 5+ KD. To enjoy a game with SBMM you generally must concentrate throughout the game, try your best and then simply enjoy it if you get the win at the end or take a casual back seat and get beamed by the first team you meet. It used to be easier to review the kind of lobbies you were playing in when a website called SBMM Warzone was around. This would give you your own personal stats and almost the entire stats of the lobbies which you were playing in. Unfortunately, the developers behind this website were given a cease and desist from Activision on March 22, 2021.


    Yes, this does protect the lower K/D players from coming against someone way better than themselves but for the average gamer it can also take the fun out of it. Beginners have often been protected in Call of Duty in the past with lobbies that could only be for new players and once you reach a certain level you are out into the wilderness or the infamous COD lobbies (which are now a lot less toxic since everyone is in party chat).


    Many games in the past have introduced casual game modes and ranked game modes. Casual game modes create lobbies through connection instead of skill. This means you are less likely to lag, have a lower ping and get into lobbies quicker. Skill based match making seems to override connection to a certain degree in favour of grouping players together. Ranked game modes are generally for the better players. If you want a more competitive game mode and work your way up the rankings this is what you would play. This gives the best of both worlds to gamers. Some nights you may want to relax with you friends and just have a laugh and play casual. Other nights you may be pumped on G Fuel (Not sponsored and other energy drinks are available) and ready to get some dubs.


    SBMM is good for casual gamers…if given then choice to play with it or play casually.

    P.S. I have tried to make this not personal but along with many gamers I am not the biggest fan of SBMM. Whilst talking about COD I miss Verdansk.

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