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Epic responds to concerns around Fortnite's new cross-platform matchmaking

Looking into bot-only mode.

Last week, Epic began rolling out a new skill-based matchmaking system which pits players from all platforms against one another, regardless of device, regardless of input.

Epic claimed it could match someone who was, for instance, a great player on mobile, with someone who was appropriately skilled on PC playing with a mouse and keyboard, to create a fair-feeling fight.

It's something players have disputed.

Fans have pointed to the inherent differences found when matched with those on other platforms, such as the responsiveness of controls, varying frame-rates and visual quality.

Epic's reply? It says it is taking account of all that.

"With the rollout, we've seen a lot of discussion about potentially unfair competitive advantages from pooling players together across platforms and input devices," Epic said in a new blog post. "The new matchmaking system, however, accounts for various skill levels across different platforms and control inputs, and groups players of similar skill levels together.

"Our goal with the new matchmaking system is to create fairer matches for all of our players, which includes special considerations for each platform. This means that where similar skill exists, players may be paired against opponents from ALL platforms - whether they're using mouse + keyboard, a controller, or touch input. We are closely monitoring match analytics and your feedback, and we'll make adjustments to ensure everyone is playing a fair match."

What these "special considerations" are, Epic did not go into. But the developer is probably keen to keep some of its working under wraps, as players are already trying to game the matchmaking system.

Cover image for YouTube video13 Things You Need To Know About Fortnite Mobile

This week has turned up several examples of smurfing - where a pro logs on with a fresh account to dominate less-experienced players. And on this, Epic is clear.

"Smurfing is a bannable offense," Epic said. "We see a bunch of negative behavior that occurs with smurfing and issues with gameplay integrity. If we see consistent reports and perceive that you are negatively impacting other players' experiences, we will take appropriate action."

Elsewhere in Epic's update, the developer addressed in more detail its upcoming addition of bots to the game for less experienced players. No, they can't win a match. No, you can't spectate them. And no, they're deliberately not programmed to be able to use vehicles or pull off more experienced building techniques.

Epic is considering a vs. bot mode for players to use to explore the map and practice their shooting. Speaking of which, the game's Combine time trial level - which lets players warm up their aim against an assault course of AI enemies - is also being made permanent.

Fortnite is adding bots. But not that bot.

Bots will debut in Fortnite season 11, which was yesterday pushed back by a week. All signs point to a drastically changed map on offer.