xbox Series X – Splitgate Developers Have a Solid Strategy for SBMM
Splitgate dev 1047 Games discusses its plans for skill-based matchmaking and compromising between strict SBMM and none at all.
Splitgate developer 1047 Games is having an eventful month. The game’s beta went virally popular, leading to Splitgate‘s servers shutting down. As a result, Splitgate‘s release date was delayed, the team crunched to get servers back up, and 1047 received a massive investment to flesh out its engineering department. Throughout it all, 1047 has been incredibly communicative. Just today, 1047 held a Q&A session with fans, during which a discussion was had regarding the possibility of SBMM.
SBMM, or Skill-Based Matchmaking, is a surprisingly controversial topic within the online multiplayer FPS genre of games. Some players like matchmaking that pairs them against players of equal ability, while other like playing others who may be much better or much worse to keep things interesting. 1047 has a surprising view on SBMM that doesn’t quite lean either way. Rather, 1047 wants Splitgate to meet players somewhere in the middle with SBMM, for better or for worse.
In a clip of the 1047 Q&A that’s gone viral on TikTok, the developers explain that their view on SBMM is to implement what they’ve branded “loose SBMM.” They explain that the key point of loose SBMM is a balance between two extremes. Splitgate won’t throw new players up against professional players. It also won’t be so strict that professional players are kept in solely high-ranked lobbies where they can’t do, in 1047’s words, “anything fun.” Loose SBMM meets somewhere in the middle.
There’s clearly some contradiction in 1047 Games’s description of the two extremes of SBMM. It acknowledges that less-experienced players losing to high-skill players isn’t fun, but also says that high-skill players defeating lower-skilled players is fun that it wants to encourage. Of course, there’s always going to be some difference between the highest and lowest-skilled players in the match. So long as 1047’s loose SBMM keeps tight enough that players are at least competitive, then its approach makes sense.
Still, to hear 1047 describe its approach to SBMM in Splitgate definitely comes as a surprise. That’s because Splitgate is a highly competitive, fast-paced FPS, that likely has an opportunity to create an esports community. An SBMM system that fostered the highest levels of play would seem like something 1047 would want.
The fact of the matter, though, is that Splitgate is a game developed by a small team and is only just approaching its already heavily delayed launch. Wanting to keep Splitgate‘s matchmaking open and fun, without making it too restrictive, is certain to be conducive to building an initial player base of both casual and high-skill players. It’ll have plenty of opportunity to make changes later, hopefully after the game is already a huge success.
Splitgate releases in August on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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