Skill-based matchmaking, or SBMM as it’s abbreviated, has become a heated topic of discussion in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War since the start of the alpha. Players learned during the alpha test that SBMM is indeed back in the new Call of Duty game with some players half-joking that they already feel like they’re in the professional Call of Duty League after playing for a while in Black Ops Cold War. While some of the players sounding off about the matchmaking system have suggested that past Call of Duty games were better because they didn’t have SBMM, one of the devs working on Black Ops Cold War responded to say the other games did, in fact, have SBMM in them.
Martin Donlon, the Director of Technology at Treyarch, responded to a tweet about SBMM that was gaining some traction this weekend. The tweet from a Call of Duty player called on Treyarch to “make a fun cod” and said the game didn’t need SBMM to be fun. The user listed several games like Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops 2 and praised them while suggesting they didn’t have SBMM at all.
As it turns out, that assumption wasn’t true at all. Donlon responded to say “they all had SBMM” despite what some people may have thought.
They all had SBMM. https://t.co/POpRwO0qXR— Martin Donlon (@wickerwaka) September 19, 2020
After the user doubled down on the claim, Donlon responded to say he was the one who wrote the implementation of SBMM in Black Ops 2. It’s unclear if he meant in his first tweet that every single Call of Duty game has had SBMM or just the ones mentioned in the quoted user’s tweet, but either way, past Call of Duty games have had SBMM enabled.
Donlon continued to disperse some of the other theories players may hold about SBMM. He said it’s not some switch that’s simply turned on or off and that it’s actually a part of the game that can be tuned in different ways.
Perfectly valid viewpoint to have. SBMM is one of many many tuneable parameters in a matchmaking system. It's funny watching people talk about it like its a big switch that can only be turned on or off.— Martin Donlon (@wickerwaka) September 19, 2020
Regardless of whether people prefer the SBMM system or not, it does look like it’s here to stay in Black Ops Cold War. This first public test for the game is just the alpha with a beta still to come before the game’s November launch, so things could feel different in the future at launch or afterwards depending on what changes.