Apex Legends


Apex Legends May Have Pushed a Secret SBMM Update

Abhimannu Das
Updated On: 
Apex Legends' SBMM seems to have received some much-needed tweaks in the recent past.
Respawn Entertainment had promised changes to matchmaking last month which seem to have gone live without any official announcements.
Players are now getting put into lobbies of their skill bracket more consistently which should improve the experience for most players.

If your games in Apex Legends feel a little easier, it is because there is possibly an update to skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) that is now live. In November, Respawn Entertainment developer Samy Duc revealed that an update would go out in Apex Legends by mid-December or early 2023 which would change how matchmaking works. The update seems to have gone out but was not revealed in the official patch notes. Here is everything you need  to know about Apex Legends’ SBMM and why the change matters.

How the new update affects Apex Legends players

Skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) refers to a system that determines the lobbies that you get put into whenever you queue up. In Apex Legends, you will notice that on most servers the queue times barely take a few seconds for Trios and even the ranked matchmaking is pretty quick. Respawn was known to be very “generous” with its matchmaking and it was not uncommon for players to run into other players of completely different skill levels. 

Timothy “iiTzTimmy” An said that he does not enjoy queueing up against people who are worse than him and just wants to have fun, which is one of the reasons he usually does not play Apex Legends on stream anymore. The implementation of the new SBMM system will make lobbies harder for players at higher skill levels but the experience should improve for lower-skilled players who make up a majority of the population.

There are countless instances of players running into Predator and Master squads and the change is designed to help players not run into such instances. But SBMM also has the community divided and some players disagree with its implementation.

Players of higher skill levels run into other high-skill players, which makes casual game modes feel no different from ranked. While it is a fair point, lesser-skilled players are protected and them having an unfun experience leads to them quitting the game.

Currently, less than 2% of the game’s population is in Master or higher and if we count Diamond players as well, anyone who is Diamond or higher is in the top 10% of the playerbase. With 90% of the playerbase being “lower-skilled”, it is understandable why developers choose to adopt SBMM.

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Abhimannu is a PC esports writer at AFK Gaming. With over seven years of experience in esports journalism, he has worked on a myriad of games and their ecosystems including Valorant, Overwatch and Apex Legends.

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