Find lobbies

It's often useful for titles to let players find lobbies that meet a particular set of criteria like map and difficulty level among other in-game qualities. This enables players to find the game sessions they want with the people they want.

This article explains how to use FindLobbies to enable players to find lobbies. To see how to find lobbies can be used in game titles, see Common Scenarios.

Understanding the relationship between lobby search properties and finding lobbies

Players make their lobbies discoverable by defining search properties. Players find these discoverable lobbies by calling FindLobbies with query strings to filter and sort their search results based on the search properties defined across the currently active lobbies. Lobbies which match these queries will be returned to the calling player.

For more information on defining search properties, checkout Creating searchable lobbies

How to use FindLobbies

When calling FindLobbies you can use the filter parameter to restrict your search results to only those matching some set of criteria based on the lobby's custom search properties.

Additionally, you can use the sorting parameter to sort the results you get back from the service based on the search properties. This is useful since the service will only return a limited number of search results. Sorting ensures you see the most relevant search results.

Common Scenarios

Here are a few common ways the FindLobbies functionality is used in titles.

  • Finding lobbies for game sessions for a specific game mode in your title
  • Finding lobbies for game sessions your friends are hosting
  • Finding lobbies for game sessions with enough players for all local players

Supported search keys

Only a restricted set of keys are allowed to be used when defining custom search properties.

  • For string properties, the following keys are supported: string_key1, string_key2, [...] string_key30
  • For numeric properties, the following keys are supported: number_key1, number_key2, [...] number_key30

Constructing query strings for FindLobbies

Query strings for the FindLobbies APIs are structured in an OData-like syntax.

These OData operators can be used to compose query strings

Operators Meaning Example
eq Equal to string_key1 eq 'CaptureTheFlag'
lt less than number_key2 lt 10
le less than or equal to number_key2 le 10
gt greater than number_key3 gt 100
ge greater than or equal to number_key3 ge 100
and AND string_key1 eq 'CaptureTheFlag' AND number_key2 lt 10
not NOT not string_key1 eq 'CaptureTheFlag'

NOTE: When comparing string properties, be sure to wrap the compared value in single quotes. e.g. "string_key1 eq 'SOME STRING VALUE'". Numeric properties do not require this.

Example Lobby and Matchmaking Client SDK code

In this example, the player wants to find all lobbies with the following search parameters.

  • Game mode == "DeathMatch"
  • Competition style != "Ranked"
  • Player skill > Min skill
  • Player skill < Max skill

Then sort the results using the following parameters.

  • Sort by the distance from optimal skill where closer skill levels sort higher.
  • Then sort by number of current members in the lobby where lower member counts sort higher.
static PFMultiplayerHandle g_pfmHandle = nullptr;


#define PFLOBBY_SEARCH_KEY_GAME_MODE "string_key1"
#define PFLOBBY_SEARCH_KEY_SKILL "number_key1"

#define GAME_MODE_DEATH_MATCH "DeathMatch"

// Find lobbies based on player's search criteria.
void FindGamesWithRuntimeQuery(
    uint32_t minimumSkill,
    uint32_t maximumSkill,
    uint32_t optimalSkill)
    PFLobbySearchFriendsFilter friendsFilter;
    friendsFilter.includeSteamFriends = true;
    friendsFilter.includeXboxFriendsToken = MyGame::GetLocalUserXboxToken();

    // Limit results based on friend's filter.
    PFLobbySearchConfiguration searchConfiguration = { 0 };
    searchConfiguration.friendsFilter = &friendsFilter;

    // Create filter string based on player's search parameters.
    std::string filterString;
    filterString += PFLOBBY_SEARCH_KEY_GAME_MODE + std::string(" eq ") + GAME_MODE_DEATH_MATCH;
    filterString += " and not";
    filterString += " and ";
    filterString += PFLOBBY_SEARCH_KEY_SKILL + std::string(" -ge ") + std::to_string(minimumSkill);
    filterString += " and ";
    filterString += PFLOBBY_SEARCH_KEY_SKILL + std::string(" -le ") + std::to_string(maximumSkill);

    // Create sort string based on player's sort preference.
    std::string sortString;
    sortString += std::string("distance{") + PFLOBBY_SEARCH_KEY_SKILL + "=" + std::to_string(optimalSkill) + "} asc";
    sortString += "," + std::string(c_lobbyMemberCountSearchKey) + " asc";

    searchConfiguration.filterString = filterString.c_str();
    searchConfiguration.sortString = sortString.c_str();

    HRESULT hr = PFMultiplayerFindLobbies(g_pfmHandle, &m_localUser, &searchConfiguration, nullptr);

void ProcessStateChanges()
    while (true)
        uint32_t stateChangeCount;
        const PFLobbyStateChange* const* stateChanges;

        for (uint32_t i = 0; i < stateChangeCount; ++i)
            const PFLobbyStateChange* stateChange = stateChanges[i];
            switch (stateChange->stateChangeType)
                case PFLobbyStateChangeType::FindLobbiesCompleted:
                        static_cast<const PFLobbyFindLobbiesCompletedStateChange&>(*stateChange));


// Update game UI to display search results when a list of matching lobbies is returned.
void GuiPostCurrentLobbySearchResults(
    const PFLobbyFindLobbiesCompletedStateChange& stateChange)
    if (FAILED(stateChange.result))

    for (uint32_t i = 0; i < stateChange.searchResultCount; ++i)
        const PFLobbySearchResult& searchResult = stateChange.searchResults[i];
        GuiPostLobbySearchResultRow(searchResult); // defined elsewhere

See also