Will you be my friend (code)?

UPDATE: From the 3DS preview event happening live in Amsterdam at the moment, Nintendo have confirmed that you’ll need only one Friend Code for all your multiplayer gaming needs. Hooray!

ORIGINAL STORY from January 14th: Among the details fished from Famitsu about Super Street Fighter IV 3D – the one for the 3DS – is the possibility of friend codes appearing on the upcoming handheld. Famitsu’s coverage (reported by Andriasang) focused on the multiplayer online modes which feature a quick match, custom match or friends match which is where the concerns began. To play friends they must be on your friends list and in order for them to be there, you’ll have to trade codes first. The current DS and Wii’s friend codes are a string of 12 digits, unique to each game and one for your system too. The japanese mag didn’t state whether or not the 3DS would again require a different code for each game or if one would be sufficient for all your portable online needs but the hope is for the latter. Well, the hope was actually that friend codes were to be replaced with a gamertag approach like those seen on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Of course the other possibility is that the friend codes seen in Super Street Fighter IV 3D will eventually be replaced with tags once Nintendo have officially announced them, which may happen at their 3DS event happening next week in Japan. But with the market for the 3DS being one fuelled by the younger gamer, the concern for nuisance ‘griefers’ and worse, men with ill intent, will always outweigh the ease for online connectivity. A shame since the DS has sold nearly 50 million units to date which could have translated into a healthy online community, rivalling even the home consoles.

Speculating is one thing but writing off the 3DS’s potential online infrastructure before more is known about it is silly. Developers have gone on record stating their desire for a better service and one of Nintendo’s bullet points for the 3DS is the continuous connectivity of the system, exchanging data with other users and the internet even when in sleep mode. So it’s clear that Nintendo do want to take online gaming seriously, bringing us right back to the hope that if we are expected to use friend codes, it’ll be just the one.

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