News broke earlier today from Kotaku that Nintendo will be returning to the Friend Codes for the Wii U and Nintendo Network. While the system won’t be like the current one in place with the 16-digit codes, we have no information to go on how better it will be. We know that adult players will enjoy it more. Reggie says that we’ll see a certain level of interaction between friends and non-friends. No matter what he says, right now everyone is looking at the current system and doubting what Friend Codes will be like on the Wii U. However, not all must be negative. Nintendo has a great place to look towards for advice on how to incorporate numbers into online IDs: Blizzard.
Like my little Photoshop work up here? Blizzard’s Battle.net introduced a new unifying ID system called Battle Tags with Diablo 3. They plan to bring this to all of their online-enabled games in order to help people stay connected without exchanging personal info like an e-mail address. Blizzard went through a huge ruckus before about personal information being visible or necessary to trade in order to see who is online and in what game. The cross-game chat system in Blizzard’s games is exceptional. It is awesome to see who is on, where, what character, what level, and what area/map. It makes being social with friends (local, long distance, or digitally made) and keeping in contact. I personally wish that Blizzard would open source this and make it available to every MMO, platform, and console. Having this level of interactivity and socializing between devices would be excellent for gaming and the future of the multiplayer.
I would love to be able to connect with my friends and talk to them while they play Uncharted 3 on their PS3 and I’m on Diablo 3.
So how is this going to help the Wii U and Nintendo? Battle Tags are made up of one word and a series of four numbers. For instance, a random tag could be Name#0123 and if you put that into the field to add a friend, you can see where that person is and on what Blizzard game. This enables you to see their profile, heroes, level, area/map, and chat with them. This is a simple system that works. All you see outside of the Social window is Name. No numbers. Something simple like that on the Wii U and Nintendo Network is not a bad thing at all. In fact, it adds a certain level of security so no one can just try and add you, it has to be a mutual thing. This will crack down on strangers, spammers, scammers, and other types of weirdos and losers trying to get access to you. That is good for both kids and adults.
Friend Codes don’t have to be a ruinous thing. It could be a simple system that affords everyone extra security and an easier time to connect. You can still see others but like Reggie said, you’ll have a different layer of options to choose from if you aren’t friends with them. I think this news could be good, not bad. We don’t have all the info we need to truly form an opinion but it seems like Nintendo has learned their lesson with the 16-digit Friend Code system. Mistakes happen, you learn from them, and if you evolve good things come from that. Nintendo is evolving with the Wii U. Let’s see what happens with the new Friend Code system before condemning Nintendo for bringing it back.