Nintendo uses Friend Codes because they find usernames inconvenient

Friend Code

Friend Codes, which are somehow still kicking around on the Switch in the year 2020, are the result of one of many inexplicable instances of Nintendo putting up confusing hoops between users and playing online. The 12-digit codes are hard to remember, a pain to type in, and just an all-around annoying way to connect with friends for online play. The reason for their existence has always perplexed, especially when PC, Xbox, and PlayStation gamers can just choose normal usernames, but after a recent and massive source code leak revealed thousands of gigabytes of internal Nintendo data, we have some answers as to why Nintendo opted for these stupid Friend Codes. The answer is – you won’t believe this one – screen names are not simple enough. The insane yet succinct answer comes from a PowerPoint slide, shared below, that was recovered from the leak.

Friend Code

So, this leaves us with one major question. How exactly do 12-digit Friend Codes comply with the “Simple” principle that shot down chosen screen names? Apparently, choosing a second username after your first choice gets taken is too hard. Not only that, but your real-life friends can also maybe figure out your screen name if you base it on your actual name. Privacy is destroyed. Thankfully, Nintendo has us covered with random, impossible-to-guess, impossible-to-memorize 12-digit Friend Codes. That’s way cooler than a dumb old username!


Nick Pearson
I'm the Reviews Editor here at Nintendo Enthusiast, and I'm a major fan of all consoles and eras.