Smart Match: Microsoft Explains Xbox One Match Waiting

The Xbox One will come with a matchmaking system called Smart Match, and in a new blog post today on Xbox Wire, Microsoft shares some details about the new Xbox Live feature. It's a revolutionary way to sit around and wait for multiplayer games to start.

Well, maybe not. But in a list of the "top three things gamers should know" about Smart Match, two of them discuss the things you can do while you wait for something to happen.


Smart Match Frees Up Your Time With Smart Match, you can do whatever you want while Xbox One finds your perfect match. This means that less popular multiplayer modes and maps that have traditionally taken a long time to find players suddenly become playable. Because Snap mode is a core feature of Xbox One that lets you do two things at once, you no longer have to wait in lobbies while Xbox Live is matchmaking for you. One friend can even set up matches for your whole party.

And the second:

Smart Match Lets You Know When Your Game is Ready After you or a party member inputs the criteria for your perfect game, do something more fun than waiting; it’s up to you. Play another game, find some new downloadable content, or jump on Reddit. Take yourself as many touch points away from the matchmaking process as you can and you still don’t need to worry about finding your way back. 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.

The third "thing" sounds cool — Microsoft says you'll be matched with other players based on all sorts of factors, like "skill, language, age, and even your specific gameplay style." But come on, why spend so much time emphasising what we'll do while we wait for things to happen? Are they really going to convince us all to use this Snap stuff instead of just browsing the web on our laptops/phones/tablets? Who is seriously going to use their TV to jump on Reddit while waiting for a multiplayer match to start?


    Unless I can restrict the search down to only Australians (With a little spillage from New Zealand and Japan) all this is just wasted effort.

      Yeah. I've been saying for a long, long time they need to make it a policy that games using XBOX Live must have optional regional match-making. It's pretty ridiculous they can sell multiplayer centric games and charge for the XBOX Live service even though a lot of them completely overlook the fact they're borderline unplayable without locally hosted matches.
      If glitches caused the problems playing off a North American host comes with they'd have to do a product recall.

        At PAX AUS, I spoke to someone at the Ubisoft booth, basically stating that without these settings that Spy versus Mercs for Splinter Cell will be dead within a month. He understood where I was coming from, even telling me how the matchmaking services work in Montreal. People complain about the lag, but when they look at their computers, "It's all working". What they don't see is that while their matchmaking service may select the very best host with the best internet, they don't bother looking at where the location of that host is in relation to the players.

        Even made a long post about it on their official forums

    So match making and you can alt-tab while you wait.... REVOLUTIONARY!!!!
    It's a great feature to finally see on consoles, but hardly the second coming...

      I don't think anywhere it said this is brand new or anything. Its simply making the console experience much more usable, especially for people that like PC. That said, this is a more polished form of "Alt-Tabing". If I search for a game in COD on PC,and alt-tab. I can only know i'm in a game by hearing the noise of the lobby myself, and Alt+tabbing back in.

      No need to bash something good for an approach they aren't taking to it.

    I'd prefer the ability to just spectate the game (free cam or player cam) and have a live action stats/play-by-play section so you can analyse the game while you wait to join.

    Edit: Mainly for if you were on a waiting list to join a friends game...

    Last edited 31/07/13 10:47 am

    I think this is an excellent feature and works well with the idea of the X1 being discless. Go into match finding in one game then go boot up a Xbox live or some other title and play that while you wait.

      Cept that it'll now only be discless if you have downloaded the game. I was looking forward to being able to game hop when friends jump on and started playing different things.

    So even with all these extra servers running in the background and all the revolutionary things that the xBox one will now do (except let you play with your mates still on a 360) you are still going to have to wait to get into the multi-player. At least they are acknowledging the wait time now and letting you pass your time in another game even - maybe i can have two games searching for multi-player matches and switch between.

    No thanks I'll stick to the 360 until they realise the system is going to have very few users (the real reason you will need to wait)

      No thanks I'll stick to the 360 until they realise the system is going to have very few users (the real reason you will need to wait)

      Yeh that's not going to happen, these consoles sell like hot-cakes regardless of backwards compatibility. If you honestly think there's going to be very few users in the first week of a next-gen console release then you to need to realize that hardly the majority hold backwards compatibility to the degree that you do.

        Its not only the backwards compatible its the cross platform compatible. Multi-player matches for the same game will not run across a 360 and an xBox One . It will be like the kids on 360's and those on a PS3 - you wont be playing together even though you are both on xbox live.

          You're aware this also occurred between the original Xbox and Xbox 360, as well as the PS2 and PS3, and certainly didn't stop people jumping onto the next-gen consoles in droves? There will be plenty of users online to play with and/or against on the Xbox One and PS4 on launch. Heck, the launch cost of the consoles should act as a filter for some of the children screaming obscenities online on current gen consoles, and that's something we can all get behind.

      They mention a reason for the wait may be because of the additional parameters you can set to tailor your matchmaking to the exact game type you want to play - this means that if you select something not overly popular instead of being forced into a match type you can do something else while the lobby fills.
      Having the ability to choose my multiplayer experience is a benefit for me - we'll see how it ends up working...

      @aus-teacherman - the article quotes MSFT as referring to "smart matching". Sounds like a scenario where you'll be looking for players to join a custom multiplayer game. The wait is to find appropriate players - doesn't sound like an infrastructure or architecture bottleneck as you've inferred. I don't need to wait to dive into multiplayer BF3 on 260 so I doubt MSFT or a game publisher would introduce some strange architectural constraint on user experience (unless they are EA of course, in which case you can never be sure...)

        Not so much a bottleneck as just the general lag in getting into games - Its going to be interesting especially as you wont be able to multi-player with mates still on a 360

    Call me old fashioned but I just want to see a list of servers (with game mode and ping) and I can choose which server I want to play on.
    The key word in all that being 'I'.

      I'd love to see this alongside regular matchmaking too. I'd love for these servers to be included in regular matchmaking as well, instead of segregated.

      Having the ability to pick your favourite servers, or just search and be placed in the best server for you (player counts, ping, favourite maps/modes etc.)

      I don't like how they currently do server browsing for PC on some games, it seems to make matchmaking useless, and makes it hard for servers that are starting up to push up their population, and for newer players to actually discover servers.

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