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Friend codes for Wii

Tuesday 19 September 2006
Nintendo is planning an internet matchmaking system for Wii's online multiplayer games in a similar fashion to the friend code trading setup used by DS, according to Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime.

"We believe that the friend's code approach is consistent with our whole strategy," Fils-Aime stated during an online interview with the Rocky Mountain News. "Will we take a similar approach for the Wii? Yes."

The DS friend code system works by giving each DS owner a unique code for each game they play online. You can't actually play with anyone online in Animal Crossing: Wild World, for instance, unless you have their friend code. However some games - Mario Kart, for instance - will let you simply search for active games like most other online multiplayer setups, and the friend code is just used for identification.

Some gamers protest that the system restricts online multiplayer. However, within the Wii Channel system that Nintendo has created - a similar system to 360's dashboard - you can create your own avatar using the Mii Channel, perhaps suggesting that Nintendo see Wii online using a Xbox Live gamer tag style setup, instead of forcing you to use unfriendly streams of numbers like the DS friend codes.

We'll have to wait and see what the final plans are for Wii's online servce, but Nintendo are expected to announce the final details very soon.

Of course, this means that Wii's online multiplayer will not be as easy or as instant as either Xbox 360's excellent live service or PS2's log-on-and-go network gaming. Will the matchmaking service work for a console that Nintendo see as being accessible and easy-to-use, even for your grandma? We'll have to wait and see - Nintendo is expected to announce the final online details very soon.

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