The 3DS has been the talk of the town of late, and within a week's time Nintendo will announce a release date and presumably a launch line-up for the incredibly hot (and apparently eye destroying) handheld system. Earlier this week, while covering Nintendo World, we put up a story about Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and its online modes. It was interesting to see how Capcom would be tackling online play with the Nintendo 3DS, and their information certainly didn't disappoint. However, it seems like another bit of information has been released confirming that friends will be able to play with each other while on other ends of the globe, which could have major implications for other games on the platform.
'Friend Codes' will be making their triumphant return on the 3DS according to Famitsu magazine. The Japanese mag claims that SSFIV 3D Edition will feature an option that allows friends to hook up for some online play by exchanging friend codes. This mode has been conveniently titled 'Friend Match' and allows players to do battle by selecting someone from their respective friends list.
While this is unquestionably good news for fighting fans, Famitsu fails to mention whether or not friend codes will be exclusive to Street Fighter or if the same concept from the Wii is being rehashed for all titles on the 3DS.
We'll have to wait until this is confirmed or denied by Nintendo to be certain, but it seems a safe bet that you'll be swapping numbers with friends in one way or another once the 3DS hits shelves. Of course, that's assuming you can find a retailer with stock to spare.
The return of friend codes could be a great move or an unfortunate one, and the choice lies completely with Nintendo, and how they choose to handle them this time around. The best solution would be to create a friends list on the 3DS hardware itself, that could then be applied to any game with online capability.
It would also be nice to have the option to label each code with the respective friend's name — similar to a contact list on a cell phone. These are small adjustments to be sure, but there's no reason the experience can't be as streamlined as possible.
Hopefully Nintendo will use friend codes effectively this time around, but even if the 3DS gets the same imperfect system they've used in the past, having online functionality is definitely a plus, albeit a cumbersome one.