Will SBMM Ruin MW2’s Multiplayer Platform?

Oh boy, this is going to be a good one. For years, avid Call of Duty fans (and the casual ones, too) have been locked in a tireless debate regarding the sheer existence of Skill-Based Matchmaking (SBMM). There are bold claims that SBMM has totally destroyed modern multiplayer gaming, making it impossible to ‘git gud’ without being punished for your in-game talents. Now that we’re days away from the full launch of Modern Warfare 2, we’re taking a look at the impact SBMM will likely have on the game’s multiplayer offering.

Recently, some of the industry’s top creators have spoken out against SBMM. It’s a sore spot for almost every player in the business, but it’s something that’s more or less present in some way in almost every game that features a competitive multiplayer platform. It’s an attempt to balance the game, putting players that are doing well up against other players that are doing just as good, but that in itself creates issues.

So, do we think SBMM is going to ruin MW2’s multiplayer platform?

“SBMM is Killing Video Games As a Whole”

That’s a quote taken directly from TimTheTatman, one of the most popular Call of Duty streamers around. He’s admittedly locked himself into the battle royale niche recently, but he admitted on stream that he would play multiplayer titles – if SBMM wasn’t a thing. Here’s the clip:

It was a heated moment for Tim, one of the world’s biggest gaming creators, with a collective following between Twitch and YouTube exceeding 11m users. In the above clip, he explained, quite simply, how skill-based matchmaking effectively makes a player feel bad for being good, as eventually, they’ll be cast against the most cracked players in the game, ultimately dashing their confidence and ultimately sending them into a vicious cycle of:

  1. Do good.
  2. Get punished by SBMM.
  3. Do bad.
  4. Go back down the rankings.
  5. Repeat.

Of course, it could be said that this was a poorly thought-out claim by Tim, as Warzone – one of the most popular battle royale games – has infamously featured a relatively punishing SBMM engine since it launched.

Will SBMM Ruin Modern Warfare 2’s Multiplayer?

For years, the general consensus has been that SBMM doesn’t belong in a ‘casual’ multiplayer title. It can be oh-so-present in a RANKED multiplayer mode, but in regular, ‘public’ multiplayer modes, it should be a regular mixed bag of competitors. In November 2021, a former Call of Duty developer revealed that, in actual fact, the franchise had featured SBMM in some way since 2007. He explained that the ‘math and science’ have has gotten better over the years, and the only difference today is, SBMM is ‘smarter’.

It was just weeks ago that Dr Disrespect, iconic content creator and outspoken individual, claimed that ‘SBMM ruins the entire experience’. He was talking about Modern Warfare 2, and although he praised almost every aspect of the game, he was disappointed about the presence of Skill-Based Matchmaking:

On Twitter, user @0HotWaterBottle summed up the SBMM situation perfectly, writing: “That’s what ranked is for. But sweating EVERY SINGLE MATCH leads to fast burn out and lack of enjoyment. Pubs/Casual should be the first group of players that press queue at the same time. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you will get fried but at least the game will be fun.”

Ultimately, SBMM is going nowhere fast, and it’ll be present when Modern Warfare 2 launches on the 28th of October. For the most part, there’s no solid solution, as, whichever way the developer leans, there will be a portion of the community disappointed with the decision. For now, the status quo remains, SBMM stays as it is, and players will continue to be punished for being the best that they can be.

It’s all about growth, right?

Are you interested in picking up Modern Warfare 2? If so, check out our in-depth review of the game’s campaign.