Nintendo makes a lot of odd choices, but the company’s insistence on friend codes is a pervasive one.
Thanks to a leaked PowerPoint presentation from the gaming group, we understand the logic behind friend codes.
It’s incredibly stupid.
These 12-digit friend codes identify users on the Nintendo Switch platform and the Wii/Wii U/3DS before it. Nintendo thought this was a “simple” solution to one’s online presence instead of, I don’t know, usernames.
According to the presentation slide, Nintendo views duplicate screennames as a big problem.
Here’s an excerpt from the slide:
“There is a high probability of duplicate screen names. When this happens, multiple entries are required. (Conflicts with the “Simple” principle.)”
While duplicate usernames are possible, they’re a non-issue in today’s age. Discord, for example, solves this with a simple, 4-digit tag. Those four numbers differentiate players with the same username.
Instead of developing a similar solution, Nintendo thought of friend codes. And here we are 15 years later, still inputting these ridiculous identifiers.
Sure, tags are a modern solution. It would be understandable if friend codes were a thing back on the Wii U. However, they continued to the ingenious Nintendo Switch.
This is a problem.
Sure, we can add friends via Facebook and Twitter on the Switch, but friend codes are still prevalent. What if a friend doesn’t use social media, or if you meet them in online play?
The point is, inputting this annoying code is a backward way to make friends. Why force this on your players, Nintendo?
Nintendo’s online features already need fixing. Friend codes and a social scene, in general, are high up on that list.
Even then, Nintendo has more pressing issues. 160,000 user accounts were exposed via a security breach, for example.
For a company with so many neat games and hardware, they certainly have some catching up to do.
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