E3: Wii U scraps Friend Codes for username & friends list

It’s about damn time, no?

As far as many folks are concerned, online multiplayer gaming might as well not exist on the Wii, since its needlessly convoluted Friend Code system — designed with the intent to keep kids safe from the perils of Internet denizens — makes life so much more difficult than the username-based setup on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Apparently, Nintendo has heard the hardcore’s cries, and for the Wii U, is replacing Friend Codes with system that supports one specific username for each person, instead of a sixteen-digit numeric sequence for each console and a separate twelve-digit number for each game.

The news comes from a demo of the Wii U version of Ghost Recon Online that Ubisoft gave to MTV Multiplayer, who pressed producer Adrian Blunt for multiplayer details. “Rather than a machine having an account, each individual user has an account,” he explained, saying that the system is “exactly” equivalent to, say, Gamertags on Xbox Live. Blunt also said that the Wii U offers “a much easier way” to connect players than Friend Codes. But he didn’t confirm whether the Wii U also features a console-wide system resembling Achievements/Trophies, saying, “I… can’t answer that at the moment.”

I’ll take that for now, though. The Wii U’s online infrastructure remains a major question mark standing in the way of the console’s adoption among core gamers, so this is certainly very encouraging news.

Wii U Ditching Friend Codes For Unified Gamertag, Friends List [MTV Multiplayer]

Samit Sarkar