Microsoft has revealed several details about how Xbox One's matchmaking system, Smart Match, will improve the generally tedious process of getting a multiplayer game going.
Its most notably improvement is that it lets you leave the lobby while it searches for a match. "With Smart Match, you can do whatever you want while Xbox One finds your perfect match," noted Xbox Live senior product marketing manager Mike Lavin on the official Microsoft Blog. This means you can play one game while Smart Match sets up another - a bit like Disneyland's Flash Pass system. Additionally, you can watch TV, browse the internet, or muck about with various apps while your match is being set up.
Better yet, Smart Match will notify you when a game is ready, so you don't need to keep flipping back to some lobby, anxiously awaiting a match that may take several more minutes to get set up. "Once Xbox One is done finding your perfect match, it will prompt you with a simple toast - no matter where you are or what you're doing - so you can jump straight into playing," Lavin explained.
Aside from minimising time spent in lobbies, Smart Match will somewhat eerily monitor every aspect of a player's behaviour to find their perfect match. No longer will we have to set up Illuminati-like networks to kidnap our adversaries and slowclap our way into a duel with them while ominously saying, "At last we meet." Instead, Smart Match will use "advanced algorithms to pair players based on skill, language, and now reputation." It will also take age and even gameplay style into account. The advanced party system will go beyond those you already knew ala the Xbox 360, and will allow players to share their stats with fellow Xbox Live users.
One one hand, I really like the idea of being able to do other things on my TV while I wait for a match to begin. Currently I - like most people, I'm assuming - muck about on my phone glancing at the screen every two seconds thinking, "c'mon already! Join my game!" On the other hand, with all these distraction it could take ages to get a game going because people might get too invested in their waiting time activities. "Hold on. Let me just finish this round of [insert game here]" is a phrase I suspect we'll hear a lot of once this system is implemented. Still, I can't argue with the option to use the TV for everything else, and if we can't keep our wandering attention spans in check at the behest of our fellow players then we'll have no one to blame but ourselves.