By Godwind 16 Comments
When people talk about the Wii’s online being poor, they mainly discuss two things, lag and friend codes. Lag is frowned upon all platforms. Who would really praise lag? It is a valid argument to complain about lag. However, the uses of codes are frowned upon. There are major advantages of using friend codes over using names. In real life, we do it all the time with things such as phone numbers, social security numbers (for non-USA residents, it is used from everything from applying to universities to applying for jobs), credit cards and so much more. The real problem is how Nintendo utilizes friend codes.
There are two types of codes that are used for online features, A Wii console code and a friend code. The Wii console code is used for sending data such as messages, pictures and a few other things. Friend codes are used specifically for games so people play together online. In some cases, both codes are needed to exchange game data such as replays, pictures and stages and ect. All codes need to be exchanged mutually and both must be registered before both people can interact with each other.
One nice advantage is identity. Players are being indexed by numbers. This now allows more freedom for choosing names. Some people may want to be referred by their real names, such as Alex, Vinny, Jeff, Brad or Ryan. I have met about 10 people with same exact first and last name in my life time. In the world of computers, identities must be unique for index purposes. When names are used, it becomes harder to organize the index.
Numbers are used universally. Just about everywhere in the world, people use the Arabic standard for numbers. In Japan, they would use their own characters (for names). In Europe and in the American continents, we use alphabetical characters (some languages use accent marks which I have no clue on how to type on a computer). The Middle East uses Arabic characters. However, regardless of where someone is from, people are familiar with using numbers. Some of the names used in online gaming can be get funky. Let’s take a name such as LeetLoserKid. Written like that it is a presentable name but when someone takes the chance to abuse the name iterator, it gets annoying as hell. Good twists on the name LeetLoserKid can be 1EEtl0serkid, l33710serkid or a bunch of other twists. Crap like that is piss ass annoying. Is that capital O or a 0 (a zero)? Is that an l (L) or an I (i). Try reading the following sentence. 1 |3337 ur /-\ 55 l|\| 4()/\/\5. Pretty damn ugly, is it not? When indexed by numbers only, the identification only includes 10 units: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 0. One could easily use 96 characters from their keyboard to make a name. Numbers do simplify a lot of the broken issues with letters.
The problem is that there are too many friend codes. There should be only one universal friend code for all one’s need. People aren’t likely to memorize various random generated numbers and keep sending them out. To play two games with the same person online requires exchanging two codes for two different games. People should only need to be indexed by one sting of numbers. Some features aren’t even accessible without exchanging the Wii console code. Why can’t Nintendo just allow us to use our Wii console codes?
The other problem is the lack of options to custom tailor a user’s experience. The initial design is for the purpose of privacy. Some people aren’t worried about such things and people can be frustrated over how much work. Considering how much faster things have come to be, why would one want to slow things down on the customer’s part. Some people would rather have a pop-up that says “A person has registered you and blah blah, would you like to accept communications and online gaming with this person?” Why can’t they allow it so the information is streamlined out to the user? Some people don’t even know where to find their codes because the interfaces aren’t even standardized.
As net result, Nintendo could make their online gaming much better if they opened a few things to people. While the use of codes does have its advantages, it is poorly executed. What your thoughts on how friend code system? Do you think the uses of numbers are completely unacceptable? DO you think there needs to be an improvement on the interface?