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Reggie Explains Why Nintendo Stuck With Friend Codes For 3DS

Posted by Trevor Chan

Easier now for gamers, but is it the most convenient overall method?

Nintendo knows that one area it needs to improve on is its online strategy, and in particular, the online functionality of its range of hardware. With the upcoming 3DS, the company is hoping to improve on several areas that its been lacking in in recent years: one example is a more accessible and user-friendly online shop. At the heart of many improvements that need to be made, convenience is a crucial aspect and there's nothing more inconvenient than Nintendo's current Friend Codes system. President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime explained why the 3DS will need to use a variant of it.

Speaking to MTV Multiplayer, Fils-Aime spoke about how the 3DS will only require gamers to have a single Friend Code that's tied to the system, as opposed to the current model of separate codes for each game. When asked why Nintendo opted for this kind of method over parental controls that manage buddy lists to prevent their children from interacting with strangers, or a type of username that's easier to remember and input for the older gamers, Fils-Aime replied:

The thing that we've learned is that there are some games that you want to battle head to head, but you don't want to necessarily want that other player to have full access to the space. Probably the best example is something like Animal Crossing. We may want to trade items in Animal Crossing, but do I really want the potential for you to come into my town and maybe disrupt it in some way? That's what Friend Codes are all about. There are certain games where Friend Codes are important. There are other games where, because of the head to head nature of the gameplay, it really isn't necessary.

So Friend Codes have been implemented to essentially offer more security for Nintendo gamers, but it's likely that the system will be similar to the current codes which are consisted of a string of numbers. Trading Friend Codes isn't as convenient as it could be, which is just as well we only need to input them once, that is... unless we lose our 3DS:

In terms of what happens if you lose your system, in terms of digital content, as we've announced, there's the ability to transfer digital content on to a new system, because we'll have the ability to go back and see what your account was and what you had purchased. In terms of what else you might have lost, that's really tough to answer in a hypothetical.

Current Nintendo accounts only track gamers' download purchases and available Nintendo points, and since the 3DS Friend Codes are linked to the system and not the account, losing the hardware means gamers will have no other choice but to reenter all the Friend Codes that have been lost.

Although there will be fewer codes to handle when the 3DS launches, any subsequent future models like a hypothetical 3DS Lite will need to have all the Friend Codes reentered, and gamers will have to have their buddies reenter their codes on their system too. When asked if Nintendo has plans to implement a gamer account like Sony's and Microsoft's, where their respective Playstation Network and Xbox Live accounts track digital purchases, account balances, friends lists, a list of played games, and game achievements that aren't tied to the console itself, Fils-Aime offered the following:

Essentially if you want to communicate to others what you're playing, what you've done for a particular game, that's now going to be possible through things like StreetPass.

All well and good, but that still doesn't make data transfer between consoles any easier, does it? What can we learn from all this? Don't lose your consoles.

[via multiplayerblog.mtv.com]

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User Comments (47)

XD375

#1

XD375 said:

I actually don't mind the system the 3DS is set to use. One friend code is fine by me.

Meteora

#2

Meteora said:

It seems to me that all of his replies were excuses after excuses. Sure, system-based Friend Codes are an improvement for Nintendo, but there's still much more room to improve.

TwilightV

#3

TwilightV said:

I'm happy with things the way they are. If they improve more, that's just a bonus to me. :3

Burn

#4

Burn said:

That second response is a little ambiguous. What does that mean exactly?

nmozdzier

#6

nmozdzier said:

I like the one-friend code idea, but I'd like the account thing better. I hope in terms of transferring games that you'll be able to do that through Club Nintendo because I no longer have my DSi or XL, which had a few games on it, so through Club Nintendo would be easy.

adamical

#7

adamical said:

I would prefer that Nintendo have one account. They're most of the way there with Club Nintendo, actually; they already track your systems and downloadable purchases under one user name/email address (and they also track what you play and how long you play it). It should be easy to tie in a unique friend code and friends list to that account.

grumblebuzzz

#8

grumblebuzzz said:

At least we have a friends list this time around, as opposed to having to IM or text or call someone real time when playing, say, Animal Crossing to let them know your gate is open. That is a MAJOR improvement in my opinion.

XMiggsX

#9

XMiggsX said:

i'll deal with 1 friend code then mutiple friend codes in each game. sounds like a good plan

OldBoy

#10

OldBoy said:

Sure one friend code is better than many but I still think it sucks.I don't have people I don't want on my 360 so I fail to see what his point is.I think that Nintendo can be a bit stubborn when it comes to looking at what the competition is doing and always think they know best.TBH they usually do but when it comes to online /system accounts I think they have dropped the ball somewhat.

DestinyMan

#11

DestinyMan said:

Reggie looks nervous having that giant Pit standing behind him.

But seriously, I think one friend code is good enough. That alone is an improvement, but of course we would want more. That's why it's important that we at least be glad with what we're getting instead of staying with all those normal friend codes. Keeping the 3DS safe from thievery and desertion is a no brainer. We should all protect our consoles like the valuables they are, I know I will!

TrueWiiMaster

#12

TrueWiiMaster said:

@Luigi78-
Though the 360 does let you choose who ends up on your friend list, everyone can talk to each other, without any permission, and, particularly on the 360, that's a problem, because it seems 90% of Xbox gamers have overly-colorful language. I know you can filter it, but by the time things are set how you want, their system is as inconvenient as going online to find someone's friend-code.

The friend-code set-up isn't too inconvenient anyway. All I have to do is go online to just about any gaming website and copy a code into my 3DS. The only difference between this and the method used by Nintendo's competition is that a username can be easier to remember (as long as it has few enough numbers itself).

Punny

#13

Punny said:

I doubt I will have to worry about losing my 3DS when I get one. I love this one Friend Code idea. :)

Hokori

#14

Hokori said:

so how is FC different then anything else??
if you have friends enter them if you dont just add the people you want??
Im confused at how everyone says NINTENDO and FC's are bad

Machu

#15

Machu said:

One friend code = best of both worlds. Protection for the kiddies, and (relative) ease of use for the rest of us.

Rawk_Hawk

#17

Rawk_Hawk said:

I never had a problem with the Friend code itself it was the multiple codes for every game you buy that I did not care for. If Nintendo can trim it down to one FC that is Ok with me.

Token_Girl

#18

Token_Girl said:

I'm ok with this friend code system, but it does seem like he has a lot of silly excuses to not give us an account based system, that, by the way, works just fine WITH EVERY OTHER GAMING DEVICE.

Not that you can blame him. You know the system is set in Japan, and there's not squat he can do about it. He just has to try and make whatever silly decisions they make sound ok to the public. I guess that's why he makes the big bucks.

komicturtle

#19

komicturtle said:

This friend code system never bothered me and I'm fully aware of where my DS is and all that. I've never lost any of my Gameboys or DSs

And when I do go out with my system, I make sure it's in one place and that's snug on my right pocket :P
..With a case, of course.

And I wonder if you would need to 'name' your friend when you add their friend code or it does it automatically by the nickname the person puts in their console and I have a feeling it's the latter.

astarisborn94

#23

astarisborn94 said:

I'm fine with the system-only Friend Code system in it's current state. As far as I have seen, it is far, far superior to the incredibly frustrating Wii/DS Friend Code system and anything better then that is good. Not as convenient as the PSN model, but I still like it in it's present form.

Rob_mc_1

#25

Rob_mc_1 said:

We will still have to deal with multiple friend codes. If the DS generation is anything to go by there are people here with more then one DS. When it comes to the 3DS I'm sure the same thing will happen.

NassaDane

#26

NassaDane said:

They just need to drop the whole online stuff all together. Who needs online anyway? Just a wasted feature.

Rockmirth

#27

Rockmirth said:

@26 haha yeah that would be something :D
i dont see what the problem is. i got many games on pc with different names so in a way the 3DS is better

FantasiaWHT

#32

FantasiaWHT said:

How about an option to lock the 3DS into either friend codes or open multiplayer? That way parents can set it to friend codes if their kids are playing or leave it open.

lex0plex

#34

lex0plex said:

I like what Nintendo is trying to do, but it really isn't their job to play "mother". Just give fans what they want and let them judge what is safe or not for their kids and themselves.

rockman0

#35

rockman0 said:

And how long does it take to enter a friend code, like 10 seconds. The most amount of time being a minute. That's a whole minute I have to spend not gaming! :P

Crunc

#37

Crunc said:

Nintendo really doesn't get it, when it comes to online. Maybe Wii2 will get it right? We can hope.

Crunc

#38

Crunc said:

And the lack of ability to have more then one account on a $250 handheld is ludicrous. My kids will not get their own 3DSs, and nor will I. At most we will have one 3DS to share. Now I'll have the problem that my kids friends list will be the same as my friends list. It's pretty pathetic. If it helps, though, Apple doesn't quite get it either - there's no convenient way to switch Gamecenter accounts. It is possible, but you have to enter the username and password every time. It's nothing at all like how it works on the Xbox 360.

Nintendoftw

#39

Nintendoftw said:

Crunc- I believe that if your kids are below the age of 10 they should not get a handheld that costs 250$...

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