Nintendo Switch Still Uses Friend Codes, But Not Exclusively

Get out those notepads: Nintendo Switch will still use the dreaded Friend Code system to add friends online.

With the console’s day-one update launching for the console’s Australian launch, members of the press have noticed that Nintendo Switch’s friends list features the “glorious” return of this much-maligned ID system from the Wii and 3DS.

However, this isn’t the only way to add friends. Options are also available to add people nearby, people you’ve played online with, and your friends on Miitomo and Super Mario Run. If you want to just add an online friend, however, you must share friend codes.

This development contradicts something Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Amie said about the Switch not using friend codes. Back in January, Reggie said this to CNET about Nintendo’s previous iterations of its online service:

People have taken shots at us for that. The reality is, the way that online experiences have progressed, it’s an expensive proposition. The amount of servers we need to support Smash Brothers or Mario Kart — these big multiplayer games — is not a small investment. There are no friend codes within what we’re doing.

The Nintendo Switch launches tomorrow. If you need a little bit more info before purchasing Nintendo’s new hybrid console, be sure to check out our review-in-progress here.


Currently interning at Niche Gamer. I've been playing video games since I was three years old.

  1. bomblord
    March 2, 2017 at 9:37 am

    One way (only have to know one code to add the friend)
    Multiple ways around it (nearby, recent users, Mario Run/Miitomo)

    Not ideal but sounds fine to me. Most of the issues with the original friend codes were that they were per game, required both codes, and were the only way to add users.

    I would prefer usernames but this seems relatively harmless as it should be fairly easy to memorize your own code.

  2. Ruggarell
    March 2, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Shit console don’t waste your money just get a PS4 and play that until PS5 comes out. I assure you it will outlive the Switch.

  3. Captain Vidya
    Captain Vidya
    March 2, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Honestly, as long as it’s only one per system, it’s not TOO terrible (better than the Wii and DS). Still shitty that they can’t seem to grasp the concept of usernames. Having other ways to add people to your friends list is welcome, though.

    Now that I think about it, I guess friend codes are one way to not force people to add numbers or something to the end of their username if someone’s already using it. Still shitty that Reggie said there’d be no friends codes, yet here we are.

  4. Ace
    March 2, 2017 at 9:47 am

    No excuse for this considering they already have Nintendo Network IDs that should have replaced these stupid codes. Nintendo will never internet correctly.

  5. Ruggarell
    March 2, 2017 at 10:36 am

    I’m not white bruh

  6. Mr0303
    March 2, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Kind of strange that this information is coming out a day before the release. I think a better solution would’ve been to upload your friend code once and then mask it with with a username, but what do I know.

  7. OldPalpy
    March 2, 2017 at 10:59 am

    It’s no surprise that they’d hold it back, Reggie at least is aware that they’re shit and maybe tried to push for ditching them completely put failed.

  8. totenglocke
    March 2, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Hopefully they add the Nintendo ID as an option in a future update.

  9. catazxy
    March 2, 2017 at 11:06 am

    But you are a baby.

  10. ChaoticPesme
    March 2, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Nintendo : We try to be the most innovative but still use the most ineffective features for years.

  11. catazxy
    March 2, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Nintendo is like a Hydra with many heads, no wonder the progress is slow and backwards, but once in a while they strike gold.

  12. Uncle Ocelot
    Uncle Ocelot
    March 2, 2017 at 11:20 am

    But why? When they have Nintendo Network?

  13. Malcolm_Ecks
    March 2, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Making the console for as cheap as possible to still be priced semi-competitively to the PS4/X1 is my guess.

  14. OldPalpy
    March 2, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    They’re like how Walter White throws every way every chance he’s given to get out of the meth business and still be better off than it was the start of the show but it’s Nintendo refusing to throw out every scrap of their terrible online ideology. It’s going to be interesting to see just how they manage to fuck up the idea of digital purchases actually being tied to accounts.

  15. OldPalpy
    March 2, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    That has nothing to with the price of the console, they want to have paid online service like XBL/PSN but aren’t willing to budge completely on friend codes. One of the first things I’d do to generate buzz about a paid Nintendo Network is publicly executing one of the top things that made their previous online services a joke.

  16. Feniks
    March 2, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Yeah never buy consoles at launch.

    The PS4 for instance didn’t have a mediaplayer at launch. Anything can happen if people complain enough.

  17. Surgeon Of Death
    Surgeon Of Death
    March 2, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    If they got rid of region locking this should be no problem.

  18. VidMasterEon
    March 2, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Remember, this is supposed to be a PAID service now

  19. DizzyGear
    March 2, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    inb4 travis defends this bullshit.

  20. Captain Vidya
    Captain Vidya
    March 2, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Oh christ, you’re right. I forgot about the Nintendo Network IDs. Why aren’t they using THOSE?

  21. Eldhin Hellknight
    Eldhin Hellknight
    March 2, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Why on fucking earth you still want to use that shit? Neighter Valve, Microsoft or Sony use that crap, so which could be the fucking reason to do it? Also, thats something you should talk about earlier. People can get even more upset having its release date so close

  22. Kiryu
    March 2, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    He also was the one who said that Nintendo has games while the Playstation has nothing for months,he is Nichegamer’s John Cena.If you want to know about something you’re not sure of just ask him what he thinks and you know you have to think the opposite.

  23. Kiryu
    March 2, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Because Nintendo,it’s in their DNA to fuck things up.

  24. scemar
    March 2, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    they said they’d charge for online because they wanted to make it a better service

    is this their idea of a better service?
    the same fail as always?

  25. scemar
    March 2, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    having to memorize a clunky code and adding people that way seems like exactly the sort of stuff people are only ok if nintendo does it

  26. Fandangle
    March 2, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Nintendo refuses to give up on their stupid bullshit. The more things like this come off tells me they haven’t changed a bit. Between the online being utterly ridiculous, the DLC they’re announcing before a game is even out, everything about their move into the mobile market, the overpriced switch peripherals, and the lack of options to buy the switch, it just makes me feel like they don’t want my money, or that they want it too much.

  27. Audie Bakerson
    Audie Bakerson
    March 2, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    The only possible excuse for this is that they allow multiple people to use the same name (or possibly allow names with multinational characters people from other regions could never input) and needed a unique identifier. I really doubt that’s the case.

  28. Scorching Sirius
    Scorching Sirius
    March 2, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    “I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No! I am the one who knocks!”

  29. AR7777
    March 2, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Absolutely pathetic, when I was completing my Pokémon Y friend safari it was a fucking nightmare to add people and then wait and wait until they finally added me, sometimes it took days, sometimes they never added me, sometimes I got a PM from people that were waiting for me to add them.

    I want Nintendo to succeed but they’ve gone full retard the past 15 years and show no signs of improving.

    Btw I heard Microsoft will release some new program in which you pay a small monthly fee and have access to more than 100 360 and One games which in theory sounds very interesting, meanwhile you look at Nintendo and what the fuck are they doing? What a bunch of fucking retards, Yamauchi must be turning on his grave.

  30. AR7777
    March 2, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    It seems they didn’t try too hard with the Switch, just paid nvidia for their tablet slapped rumble controls and called it a day

  31. AR7777
    March 2, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    They know they have a bad product that’s why they are hiding as much as possible, people who preordered this are buying a product with unknown specs. Who knows what other surprises will people find after they buy the system

  32. Dale Frewaldt
    Dale Frewaldt
    March 2, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    So I’m not paying for online until this shit is gone.

  33. OldPalpy
    March 3, 2017 at 2:47 am

    “The friend codes keep flowing, no matter what. We are not ramping down. We’re just getting started. Nothing stops this train.”