One of the most controversial topics in video games right now is the implementation of Skill Based Matchmaking. Skill Based Matchmaking, or SBMM as it is more commonly referred to, essentially turns every match type into ranked, as players are always going to be paired with those of a similar skill level. This may not seem like a big deal on paper, but it has some unintended consequences. For one, highly-skilled players can abuse SBMM so that they are matched with far less-skilled opponents. Secondly, it can make it less-skilled players struggle greatly when they decide to play with their higher-skilled friends online. And perhaps most importantly, some feel as though SBMM disregards connection quality, and they'd rather matchmaking be ping based. These are just a few of the most common arguments against SBMM, but it seems these reasons aren't enough to convince developers to move away from it.
According to Respawn Entertainment developer Eric Hewitt, who works on the Apex Legends battle royale game, "SBMM will become the norm for most MP games, as there is indisputable evidence through data that it helps out something like 80-90% of the community with retention for most of these games." Essentially, SBMM will theoretically make it so more casual players aren't paired with tough opponents and therefore there is a lower chance of them becoming frustrated and quitting the game entirely.
Needless to say, there are those who aren't going to be happy about this news. After all, the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare SBMM controversy has caused quite a stir in that game's community. Modern Warfare fans may be even more upset about SBMM than Apex Legends players at this point.
SBMM will become the norm for most MP games, as there is indisputable evidence through data that it helps out something like 80-90% of the community with retention for most of those games... which hurts us 10%’ers, I know. Still though, ours might need some tuning potentially— Eric Hewitt / Ghost (@GH057ayame) November 24, 2019
Fans have offered their own solutions to SBMM. Some have suggested that developers prioritize ping for matchmaking while still taking SBMM into consideration. Others have asked for SBMM to be in its own playlist, with games offering more casual quick play options that don't use SBMM. This is how multiplayer has worked in the past with a distinction being made between Ranked and Quick Play, after all.
Unfortunately for those who don't like SBMM, it seems as though it's here to stay for the foreseeable future.