Former ‘Call Of Duty’ producer criticises skill-based matchmaking

Mark Rubin, who is now the executive producer of Ubisoft's upcoming shooter 'XDefiant', says SBMM results in "stale" matches

Mark Rubin, who was an executive producer at Infinity Ward until 2015, has shared that he’s “not a fan” of the skill-based matchmaking system that’s present in Call of Duty and other multiplayer games.

Ahead of Modern Warfare 2 launching tomorrow (October 28), the Call of Duty community has debated whether the inclusion of skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) is positive or negative for the game. SBMM refers to a feature that puts players against opponents that the game thinks are roughly equal to them in skill, with the aim of creating fairer matches.

This week, Rubin took to Twitter (via The Loadout) to explain that he’s “not a fan” of SBMM, and felt that it was “being pushed on us from the top” while he was at Infinity Ward.


“You should be in a match that has players better than you and worse than you,” argued Rubin. “The experience then is more varied and as long as the team balancing is fair you still have a chance to win your match. And you get to see yourself get better over time.”

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Credit: Infinity Ward.
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Credit: Infinity Ward.

Earlier today (October 27), Rubin posted a more in-depth criticism of SBMM and explained why he isn’t a fan of the system – though clarified that he’s “not here to say that people who like SBMM are wrong or that people who don’t want SBMM are right.”

“When you play a game using strict SBMM you are playing with and against a group of players that are for the most part just like you. They have a similar skill level and probably play in a similar way as you,” explained Rubin. “On paper that sounds kind of fair. And you would be right if strict competition is your goal. And I am fine having that kind of experience in a ranked mode where there is a goal and reward for competing.”

However, Rubin argues that with SBMM players will “get an experience where every match feels the same,” and explained that “if you start to improve your skills you will probably get a few games where you feel a bit dominant but don’t worry, the algorithm will bring you back to the same stale experience shortly.”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Credit: Infinity Ward.


Rubin, who is currently an executive producer at Ubisoft and working on the studio’s upcoming shooter XDefiant, said that he is “in favour of removing SBMM from casual play because I want players to have a varied experience.”

“To me the key [to] a great gaming experience is this variety,” continued Rubin. “I want to play against players better than me and I want to feel proud of being one of the better players in a match. And I feel that SBMM takes away that variety and makes me play the same match over and over again.”

In the launch patch for Modern Warfare 2, Infinity Ward has addressed feedback regarding the game’s matchmaking by saying it has made some changes to reduce lobby disbandment between matches.

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