The single friend code for the 3DS is a grand step forward for Nintendo - but for some it's not far enough. Why not have unified friends lists like Xbox LIVE or the iPhone with Game Center? Well, according to Reggie Fils-Aime, the President of Nintendo of America, there are some very good reasons why Nintendo are persisting with this much maligned feature.
Apparently friend codes exist in order to control the amount of impact your friends can have on a game to game basis.
"The thing that we've learned," claims Reggie, "is that there are some games that you want to battle head to head, but you don't want to necessarily want that other player to have full access to the space. Probably the best example is something like 'Animal Crossing.'
"We may want to trade items in 'Animal Crossing,' but do I really want the potential for you to come into my town and maybe disrupt it in some way? That's what Friend Codes are all about. There are certain games where Friend Codes are important. There are other games where, because of the head to head nature of the gameplay, it really isn't necessary."
We understand this, to an extent - but surely Nintendo can come up with a more elegant solution? We don't expect Nintendo to create a system like Minecraft where idiots can sneak up and set the dream shack you built with your bare hands on fire, then run away cackling demonically - but I've never had any such problems with a unified system like Xbox LIVE?
What do you guys think - are Nintendo being too conservative? Could they be doing more to foster online gaming on the 3DS?