Activision has demanded the shut down of SBMM Warzone, a site popular for tracking skill levels in Call of Duty: Warzone lobbies, citing API usage. The site announced a legal team gave them until Monday to comply, but they’ve not confirmed that it has been closed.
Skill-based matchmaking has been a longstanding point of discussion in Warzone. The popular battle royale lacks a legitimate ranked mode but nebulously seems to enact some degree of SBMM to maintain skill levels in players’ lobbies.
As the game’s competitors and fans sought to understand the system, the SBMM Warzone site became a beloved resource. For any public account, the website allowed players to check the skill level of each lobby they played in, ranking lobbies from Bronze to Diamond based on K/D (kill-death) ratios.
To do so, SBMMWarzone used Activision’s API (Application Programming Interface) to source every lobby’s game records. That usage is limited to Activision partners and, following multiple requests, the developers have denied the site’s attempts and told them to shut down by Monday or face legal consequences.
Activision’s lawyers reached out and asked us to shut down https://t.co/aX094FtqB8. According to their ToS, we can’t use their API. We’ve tried to reach them multiple times to become Partners, now is our last shot. Anyone working at #Activision, please reach out [1/7] ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/EBFNSee2R7
— SBMM Warzone (@SbmmWarzone) March 26, 2021
In a thread from SBMM Warzone’s official Twitter account, the small team reported that “Activision’s lawyers reached out and asked us to shut down sbmmwarzone.com.” The developers “want to guarantee their players’ privacy” and limit API usage to partners (as per their Terms of Service).
This apparently comes after SBMM Warzone “tried to reach [Activision] multiple times” with partnership requests. In face of being unable to reach the developers and legitimize their service, Activision appears to have reached out themselves — but with threats of legal consequences.
At the moment, the site seems willing to shut down if need be, but would much prefer to open up a dialogue with the developers so that a partnership can be agreed upon. Considering the reactions to this news, it’s clear that the community wants SBMM Warzone to become partnered.
While initially controversial, the lobby-tracking website has become a useful resource for both the casual and competitive Warzone scenes. Some fans use it to discredit high-kill performances from big streamers, but most agree that the added transparency is valuable.
By all accounts, this shutdown is disappointing for the battle royale’s fans. The site’s growth had reached a point where they were tracking lobbies for entire tournaments, like the Toronto Ultra $100K Trios kill race, lending another layer of nuance to the competitive scene.
SBMM Warzone officially shuts down
On Monday, March 29, SBMM Warzone revealed that they have met Activision’s demands and shut down the website. That said, they’re still hopeful they can reach an agreement with Activision “to provide you with the stats you love.”
We’ve met @Activision’s demand and have shut down our website. Your Warzone stats are no longer available. We still believe we can reach an agreement with Activision to provide you with the stats you love. Hey @Activision, let’s partner up.https://t.co/FRyI9DJwRq
— SBMM Warzone (@SbmmWarzone) March 29, 2021
Now, SBMM Warzone and the site’s fans are hoping that Activision will discuss a partnership opportunity — with numbers of people showing support online.
We will update this piece when more news becomes available, but things currently look grim for the future of one of Verdansk’s more valuable community-founded resources.