A lot of folks will be standing in line at midnight tonight, eager to get their hands on a Nintendo Switch. When they first plug in the console and download that day one update, though, they'll also be revisited by an old nemesis.
Friend Codes are making their triumphant return on the Nintendo Switch, which is only accurate if your definition of "triumphant" is "everyone hates these freaking things." Thankfully, it's not all bad news, as Nintendo has also announced additional ways to hook up with your online pals that don't require a ridiculous set of numbers being plugged in.
Unfortunately, Nintendo still hasn't gotten its act together when it comes to certain modern gaming features. When it comes to protecting folks from evil internet monsters, for instance, they rely on a mostly useless safety precaution rather than better parental controls.
On most game platforms (PlayStation, Xbox, Steam, etc.) it's extremely easy to add (or delete) friends from your online acquaintance collection. Aside from just telling folks your user name and having them add you, you can also easily add someone you met in a game by clicking on their name in a queue and sending them an invite.
Nintendo, on the other hand, uses Friend Codes. According to a recent report from Polygon, that's remaining the case with the Switch. In order to become friends, you have to send someone your lengthy numerical code and wait on them to add it to their system. In the meantime, they need to send you their code and you have to add it to your own system.
Thankfully, it's not all bad this time around. According to the initial report, you can still search for local users like with the 3DS, so if you're both playing your Switch on the go, becoming friends is a much easier process. You can also search for friends by their code but, again, that would require you to know their code in the first place. Finally, you can "search for users you've played with." We assume that that final process removes the need to actually exchange codes but, if that's the case, what's the point in even using them?
Thankfully, Nintendo has also announced that additional methods for adding friends will be introduced in the future that, again, make us wonder why they're even using Friend Codes in the first place. According to Polygon, those methods will include using social networks like Facebook or Twitter, as well as your Nintendo Network ID. For those who don't remember, your NNID is just like your username on other platforms, which is usually a lot easier to remember than a random collection of 12 numbers.
If you're feeling a bit confused by all of this, you're certainly not alone. At this point, everyone who games on a Nintendo device or two likely has three IDs and two friend codes to keep straight, and that's just ridiculous.