Since Nintendo joined the online gaming space, its use of friend codes have been a constant source of criticism. For the uninitiated, friend codes are 12 digit codes that are required to add other players on Nintendo systems that have online functionality, which is far less convenient than simply adding people by username as is possible on other consoles. Unfortunately for those hoping that Nintendo would be leaving friend codes behind with the Nintendo Switch, it turns out that the new console also uses the controversial friend-adding system.
As reported by IGN, the Nintendo Switch requires that players share friend codes to add people that they haven’t had any contact with in the past. Unlike past Nintendo systems, though, it’s possible to add friends through other methods on the Nintendo Switch as well. For example, players are able to search for players locally, as well as directly add players that they’ve played with online.
Another way someone can add a friend on the Nintendo Switch is by being friends with them on Nintendo’s other smartphone apps. It’s unclear at this time if this extends to mobile games like the endless runner Super Mario Run and Miitomo, or if this method only works for those using the Nintendo Switch’s mobile app.
The Nintendo Switch’s mobile app acts as the main way that players will be interacting with others online since it controls matchmaking and voice chat, so it would make sense for it to govern one’s friends list. However, it seems like it would make more sense for Nintendo to pull information from other mobile apps to make it easier for people to add their friends without having to trade overly-long friend codes. For instance, it would be convenient for many people if the Switch was able to connect to Facebook and use one’s friends list from there like other Nintendo mobile apps have in the past.
The lack of a Facebook app for Nintendo Switch is annoying given the way friends lists work, but not surprising. The Switch is launching with virtually no apps available, not even standard streaming services like Netflix, but Nintendo could add these popular apps in future updates for the console.
For now, players will have to rely on friend codes and the other methods Nintendo has made available to add people on the Nintendo Switch. Of course, there are very few games that utilize online multiplayer in the console’s launch lineup anyway, so this may be a non-issue for many early Switch adopters.
Nintendo Switch will launch worldwide on March 3rd.