Nintendo’s online systems have long lagged behind those of its competitors, and one of the best examples of that is the infamous friend code. Since the days of the Wii, Nintendo has substituted friend codes for more robust account systems, requiring players to enter a twelve-character code in order to add a friend to their friends list. With the arrival of the Switch, many of us were hoping for that to change, but it looks like that won’t be the case.
According to Polygon, Nintendo’s day-one patch for the Switch – which went live today in anticipation for tomorrow’s launch – snuck friend codes back into the online ecosystem at the last moment. The bit of good news here is that friend codes aren’t the only way to add other users, but even then, it sounds like it’ll be the most frequently used method.
Polygon says that players ultimately have four options when it comes to finding and adding friends. You be able to add local players, search through players you’ve recently played with, enter another person’s friend code, or search through sent requests. So, unless the friend you want to add is there with you in person or you were lucky enough to be matched with them in an online game, it sounds like at least one of you will need to enter a friend code.
This is an interesting turn of events, because we were led to believe that the Switch wouldn’t use friend codes in any capacity. That’s what Nintendo of America chief Reggie Fils-Aime told CNET back in January, at any rate. Something has clearly changed between then and now, so perhaps this is a temporary implementation? With this update switching on the eShop and other online capabilities, it certainly seems like many of these online systems are being finished at the last minute.
Beyond that, it seems that your friends list will be limited to just 300 people. That’ll be more than enough for most Switch owners, but it’s worth pointing out that it pales in comparison to the number of friends you can have on Xbox Live (1,000) or PSN (2,000). In any case, here’s hoping that friend codes aren’t here to stay and that Nintendo is just implementing them as a stop-gap measure.