Apex Legends reveals new SBMM system that will “rapidly improve” match quality

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Respawn has revealed that they are in the process of retiring their old skill-based matchmaking system in Apex Legends in favor of a new one that “more accurately” matches players based on their skill level.

Matchmaking has been a hot topic in the Apex Legends community. It’s been long speculated what actually determines whether players are matched against each other, but we haven’t had a look at how matchmaking actually works.

With gold players getting put against Predator-ranked players at times, there have certainly been some questions raised by players. But, in a January 17 blog post, devs revealed how matchmaking actually works along with a brand-new matchmaking system that’s intended to improve upon what they already have.

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It was confirmed in November 2022 that developers at Respawn were actively working on ways to improve matchmaking, and now we know what they were up to.

Apex Legends matchmaking is getting a massive overhaul

The post made by the Apex Legends developers is incredibly in-depth on their matchmaking, providing a clear image of how SBMM has functioned over the past few years.

Essentially, players are put into one of four “buckets” when getting matched into lobbies, with one of those buckets existing purely for new players in many cases.

Ranked matchmaking functions a bit differently, with every mode having “different skill rating systems and also different matching algorithms”, but the same base principle of putting players in these so-called “buckets” applies across all modes in the current system.

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Now, Apex Legends matchmaking will be getting some substantial changes to the way it puts players into games, discarding the bucket philosophy in favor of a more dynamic matchmaker.

The explanation is very complex as to how they’re actually changing the matchmaker (and you can read up on it fully in their original blog post here if you’d like), but the gist is this:

“Rather than placing players into static buckets and creating a match as soon as that bucket reaches 60 players, it will predict the distribution of incoming players and dynamically chooses the optimal tradeoff between skill differences and wait time.”

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Before, these buckets were the priority and players would get dumped into a game as soon as they filled. In the new system, a bit more care is taken to put players in an even match rather than just putting them in a very broad and general skill bracket.

According to the blog post, the changes have already been implemented in a few regions with just the results they were looking for. There’s no exact release date for these changes globally, with the post only confirming that the current system will be slowly phased out in favor of the new one.

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