What is Skill-based matchmaking? Exactly what it sounds like, being put up against players of around the same skill level as you for balanced gameplay. At first, that sounds amazing, why would anyone not want that? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that.


The argument for skill-based matchmaking:

Players want a balanced game. Without at least some form of skill-based matchmaking, extremely experienced players with hundreds of hours on a game can be paired up against someone who just loaded the game up. It leaves players playing against either people who are good or who are bad. Those who are seeking to get better at the game would need to be matched against players of their skill to even the playing field and leave both parties learning from their mistakes and improving over time. Without skill-based matchmaking, that just isn’t possible. 

The argument against skill-based matchmaking:

Most people play a game casually, not competitively. They would either mess around with friends in a game doing dumb things to have a laugh or use the game as something to do in the background while conversating with others. If skill-based matchmaking would be implemented into a game with a player like this, it would leave no room for that casual type of play. Pairing players against other players of the same skill would almost certainly lead to everyone getting competitive. That unbalancedness is the very thing that allows dumb, funny, and entertaining things to happen. That unbalancedness is the very thing that keeps players from becoming too competitive and ruining the way this type of player likes to play. If someone did try being competitive, the inconsistency of this matchmaking would keep them at bay.

So what is the solution to this predicament, and is there a good compromise between both sides. Yes, there is. Creating casual and ranked playlists with the ranked playlists containing skill-based matchmaking would be an easy solution to this problem. For games that don’t/wouldn’t make sense to implement multiple playlists for matchmaking, it would vary on the game. Games like Fall guys or SCP: Secret Laboratory wouldn’t need ranked and unranked playlists but games like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege would.

Video games are played for fun. The two main ways to have fun in a game are either messing around in a game casually, getting the satisfaction of winning competitively, or a mixture of both. There are too many people for and against this argument for one side to just be denied completely. Creating a system where servers run games with and without skill-based matchmaking would create a better dynamic between casual and competitive players, as they can both play the way they want to play with other players that play the same way.