Black Ops Cold War SBMM Tested – Here’s What You Need to Know (Summary)

Black Ops Cold War SBMM

With last year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, one of the biggest things to come out of the woodwork is none other than Skill Based Matchmaking (SBMM). While Activision and developers have remained quiet about it, the chatter surrounding it has seeped in into Black Ops Cold War. If you’re curiuous how Black Ops Cold War SBMM works, well, you’ve come to the right place.

YouTubers, Xclusive Ace, Drift0r, JGOD, and S0ur, collaborated to test how strict SBMM is in Black Ops Cold War, and for those who’re playing the game, I gather, you won’t really be surprised at the results. We’ve posted a summary of the findings, as well as the methodology on what steps each YouTuber took to come up with the data.


Testing Process
Make sure crossplay is ON
Test during peak play time (weekend) to maximize potential player pool
Stick to one game mode, solo play only (All recorded SPM data should be for the game mode being tested only to prevent massively skewed results)
Collect data from 10 matches per account tested
Each account tested gets its own tab in this sheet
Record the ping for each game and save screenshots of each lobby showing all of the players
Record how long it takes to get into a lobby from the moment you start searching (Optional)
Play each match fully while attempting to perform at the level of the account you’re testing (If you’re testing a 0.7K/D account, try to maintain a 0.7 K/D and comparable SPM each game)
After 10 games, record/screenshot the “Last 10 Games Played” Data in the after action report (all tabs)

The findings based on Xlcusive Ace’s video are listed below (thanks to Reddit for a quick summary). Note that each YouTuber found the same results after testing, which meant that the findings were consistent across different platforms and accounts.

Black Ops Cold War SBMM Test Results:

  • —“Being a higher skilled player may result in a worse connection than being a lower skilled player”
  • —“Matchmaking times significantly longer on main (high skill) account”
  • —“System is willing to expand search to a higher ping lobby in order to get a better skill match”
  • —“On low skill account teams were balanced evenly”
  • —“Since they cant find properly skill matched players for my (high skill) account…team balancing system has to compensate for this and give me the worst players on my team”
  • —“Since this system is so heavily balanced on recent performance and not actual skill – in reality this is a retention based system — not designed to be fair to players —- designed to keep you playing as long as possible with highs and lows.”
  • —“Massive swings from lobby to lobby instead of a progression of difficulty over time”
  • —“Ping may be getting worse as you get better at the game”

You can check out the complete raw data numbers on kills, deaths and more in this Google Document made and shared by the YouTubers involved in the testing.

Basically, it seems that Black Ops Cold War’s SBMM is the same as Modern Warfare, which was super strict (you can read about that here), meaning that this should be loved by new players to the game, or those that aren’t that good, but for vets and for those that can hold their own and then some, expect toughter matches, longer match wait times, laggy matches, and the like.

Surprised by the results or not at all? Do you think there’s a healthy compromise Activision and Call of Duty devs can come up with or is this too beneficial for new players that they should leave it be? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.

We’ve embedded the videos of each YouTuber who participated and who posted a video about it below as well.

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