Switch returns to Friend Code system, but alternatives are coming

There was a collective groan from the internet yesterday when the Switch’s day one update brought with it one unpopular bit of Nintendo functionality.

Whereas on the likes of PSN and Xbox Live, users are able to search for and befriend people by their username, Nintendo has typically favoured a code system requiring pals to swap 12 digit codes if they want to hook up online.

The idea is to ensure Nintendo’s consoles offer a safe environment where youngsters are only able to interact with people they most definitely know in real life. However, in the modern age such a system feels beyond antiquated, so news that Switch is embracing the same method has gone down like a lead balloon.

Fortunately, Nintendo has confirmed to Polygon that other more 21st century options are indeed on the way.

Several methods can be used to add friends as quickly and easily as possible,” the platform holder said. By linking Nintendo Switch to your Nintendo Account, your friends from Miitomo and Super Mario Run will appear as friend candidates so you can easily send them a friend request. Also, we are planning it so that friends from social networking services will be listed as candidates, too.

In the future, you will be able to send a friend request to friends associated with your NNID (Wii U/Miiverse) and Nintendo 3DS. In some games you will be able to use an in-game interface to send friend requests. You can send friend requests to those who have played with you recently. You can establish a friend through local wireless communication. You can also send a friend request by using a friend code.”

Nintendo was coy on when these alternatives will be rolled out, and whether the Friend Code system might be removed from Switch altogether.

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