XDefiant is ditching skill-based matchmaking because Ubisoft thinks it's not good for fun or variety, and it "means every casual game is repetitive"

Tom Clancy's XDefiant
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

XDefiant, Ubisoft's long-gestating new shooter, won't feature skill-based matchmaking, or SBMM, whatsoever when it launches this month.

Three years after its initial reveal, XDefiant is finally launching for real later this month on May 21 across PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S platforms. As first reported by PC Gamer, a new blog post on XDefiant's website reveals that SBMM won't be in the new shooter at all, as Ubisoft believes "no SBMM is paramount to a fun and varied game experience in the long-term."

"Frankly, skill-based match making means every casual game is repetitive - constantly repeating matches that are just as stressful and matched as ranked. We believe casual playlist should be fun and no SBMM is the way to do that. If you want that competitive, every-second-counts, go-all-out playstyle, you'll find our ranked mode to your liking," the blog post adds.

Instead, each playlist will prioritize different factors when getting you into a match. In 'Casual Play' for example, connection speeds will trump all other factors, and will try to match latency and regions wherever possible. 'Ranked Play,' on the other hand, is segmented by rank levels, and matchmaking queues may last longer to ensure players of an appropriate rank level are found for you to play against.

Once a lobby is populated in XDefiant, teams will be balanced using a 'Skill Rating' system, where every player has an assigned rating. This doesn't solve who gets into a Casual Play match, just who is lining up where on both teams. Additionally, some playlists might lock your controller so you can't switch input devices without first backing out of the match itself. 

Take a look at our new games 2024 guide for an overview of all the other games launching across the next few weeks. 

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.