Gold Features: Next-Gen Matchmaking

Next-Gen Matchmaking


At a Glance
  • Game against your own level.
  • Play ranked or unranked.
  • Friends and feedback.
  • Your gamer profile.

Life may not be simple, but gaming online should be. Sleek, organized, and intuitive should be the hallmark descriptions for any online service. This is especially true for finding, joining, and creating fun and competitive matches.

Lucky for us, the good folks behind Xbox Live® have been working diligently towards making this a satisfying reality for everyone. They’ve created a deep but elegant matchmaking service. Whether in Ranked or Player Match (unranked) games, the tools now exist to foster community and match like-minded players around the world with each other.

Half the fun is the game you play.
The other half is who you play with.

The Dividing Line
Seasoned veterans of the Xbox Live service will note one substantial change immediately. There are now two types of matchmaking to choose from, letting you decide if you’re feeling competitive or would rather have a more relaxed match.

Gamers that wish to prove their skills and up their ranking can participate in competitive “Ranked” matches, while those looking for a more casual, social experience can find just what they need with “Player” matches. Whichever you choose, both systems do some fancy footwork to get you into the best matches possible.

Competition Junkies, Meet TrueSkill
It’s not fun to enter a lobby and find you’re playing against people several levels higher than you, and it’s exactly that problem the new TrueSkill™ matchmaking system solves. For nearly every ranked game you play, Xbox Live uses your TrueSkill to find the best match for your skill level, so every gamer has a chance to be competitive in every match they play. This should significantly drop the likelihood of power gamers combing through Custom Match to prey on weaker opponents.

The idea behind the system is simple: It tracks every match you play and how well you play it, which lets the system match you up against players near your own skill level. It’s also a game- and match-specific system; your TrueSkill deciphers data from each different game and even each different match-type within the game.

For example, if you’re dominant in straight up races in Burnout Revenge™, but struggle a bit more in Crash mode, you’ll be matched up against players of appropriate skill for each game mode individually. For those that crave competition, the TrueSkill matchmaking system gives you the gift of knowing that a truly competitive match is just a couple clicks away.

The Player Match Community
For those not in the mood to get their serious game face on, there are Quick Match and Custom Match options just for you. While ranked games use the TrueSkill matchmaking system to ensure quality competition, Player Matches employ a host of new features designed to maximize fun, foster community, and give you a measure of control for deciding who you play and don’t play against. Here are a few highlights to look forward to:

  • Friends: Chances are, if someone is on your friends list, you’ll want to play with them. Knowing this, the system searches the available games for folks on your friends list, and, if it finds one, you’ll likely be dropped in to buddy up or play against your friend.
  • Give feedback: The new Player Review system lets you offer instant feedback against anyone you play, which affects the likelihood of playing against them again. Digging the competition for first place with a certain player in Perfect Dark Zero™ games? Use the feedback system and set that player to “Prefer.” This increases your chances of playing against them in the future, helping to create some friendly rivalry and giving you a trial run before adding the player to your friends list. Conversely, if you run into players that attack their own teammates, shoot off at the mouth, or generally behave like a jerk, you can use the Feedback system and set the offending player to “Avoid.” This tells the system to actively avoid matches with that player when possible.
  • Gamer profile: Generally speaking, people like to game and hang out with folks they have a little something in common with. Therefore, the system bears in mind each player’s gamer profile when searching for games. If your Gamer Zone is set to Family, you’re more likely to join up with folks with the same preference. If you speak Italian, you’re more likely to get matched up with others that share your native tongue. If your rep is low (you quit out of a lot of games, are rude, screw over your own teammates, etc.), you’re more likely to get matched up with players of a similar disposition.

Half the fun is the game you play. The other half is who you play with. Whether it’s ranked games with TrueSkill matchmaking or the Player Match system locating the best game with the most compatible people, the new matchmaking system is making sure the second half of the equation is as fun as can be.

Article by Alex McLain

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