Reggie Says: No VC for DSi, Friend Codes Here to Stay

Sean Buckley On April 4, 2009 04.04.2009 with 32 Comments

In a recent Interview with Wired, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime admitted there are no current plans to make classic Gameboy, GB Color, or GBA games available through the DSiWare download service:

…we don’t want to see is a game that is available on a number of other platforms, either mobile or home, nor do we want to see games that don’t take advantage of the unique capabilities of the DS.

Wired.com: So bringing back classic Game Boy games, for example, would not be something you’d want to see.

Fils-Aime: The concept of Virtual Console on DSi is not something that we’ve talked about, nothing that we’ve commented on. I know it’s something many of your readers would like to see, but it’s not something that we’ve talked about.

Interviews with Reggie always leave me unsure.  He uses back-to-back phrases that cause one to down their meanings – does “not something we’ve talked about” mean internally, or like the followup “nothing we’ve commented on” phrase reclassify it as something they may have considered, but simply haven’t announced yet?

Fils-Aime also commented on Friend Codes, and why Nintendo wants to keep them around…

Fils-Aime: Friend codes are about making sure, in a connected experience, that a consumer has a great experience. What we mean by that is that when you’re playing with a friend, you are provided full functionality with the WiiSpeak microphone, you can talk to your friend, or in a game like Animal Crossing you can invite friends into your town — but there’s a recognition that for players that you don’t know, what we don’t want is a situation where either consumer is having a negative experience. The trash-talking that happens now online is a prime example. For us, friend codes are about making sure that the consumer has a great, positive, connected experience.

User-generated content, in my view, is something very different, where we have always been about allowing the consumer to create some content and post it for the world to see. The “Check Mii Out” channel is a prime example of that. So I really view friend codes and what we’re trying to do with user-generated content as being very different, and going against very different objectives.

Once again, maintaining a “positive experience” wins in the battle between safe but limited online interactions and “risky” but potentially unlimited online community building.  Thoughts on friend codes vary greatly – and Nintendo is right – forcing prior recognition does ensure a safe and positive environment with no unexpected surprises – but as many have complained it also limits how much online interaction is possible and eliminates the possibility of fun, unexpected surprises.  Additionally, painting “Check Mii Out” as the Wii’s champion of user generated content paints bleak future for fan-made fun on the Wii.

Disagree? Disappointed ? Pick up on something we didn’t? Let us know – Write a Comment!

32 Responses to “Reggie Says: No VC for DSi, Friend Codes Here to Stay”

  1. atlantis1982 says:

    I am rather surprised they have not planned anything for a VC service on the DSi. That is surely going to disappoint many DSi-to-be owners that were looking forward to such a service. More and more of this is giving me a reason to just ignore the DSi.

  2. Billman64 says:

    Agreed. I was hoping the lack of GBA cartridge slot would be compensated with downloadable classics. I mean they never implemented GB games on Wii’s Virtual Console. What are they saving them for?

  3. raindog469 says:

    I fully understand Nintendo’s reasoning for requiring people to exchange friend codes; they want their systems to be perceived as “rated G”, and they’ve been successful for the most part judging by the outraged tabloid stories expressing outrage that Nintendo is allowing titles like MadWorld to be released on their supposedly child-safe systems. Those wanting a more multiplayer-friendly experience, with the benefits and annoyances that come with it, are better served with an Xbox 360 and a Live subscription.

    What I don’t understand, and what Reggie and others have never meaningfully addressed, is why every game has to have its own set of friend codes. Is the friend you play Animal Crossing with REALLY going to transform into a pedophile when you put in Mario Kart DS?

    In the long run, though, if you’re into multiplayer, you buy and play what your friends buy and play, which is why I’ve been tempted to buy a 360 for a couple years now and will eventually give in.

  4. RoyalRook says:

    Must…stop…friendly….code……FC will kill off Nintendo in the next gen faster than N64′s cartridge based game ever could.

  5. Lite says:

    Don’t worry, guys…Portable VC will be here eventually…

    *crys inside*

  6. PR says:

    “No VC for DSi”?? That is some serious Super Effective damage right there, and for once I’m starting to regret the idea of getting one tonight at midnight.

  7. Joshdad says:

    I agree that Reggie’s words can be taken in more than one way. “Not something that we’ve talked about.” Just what does that mean. Does it mean that at Nintendo’s brain storming sessions the idea of a DSi VC has never been brought up? Or does it mean that Nintendo has never “officially” talked about this concept with the press (but they could very well be planning on doing it anyway). And like Sean says, why even say that you’ve never commented on it? Wouldn’t that kind of be covered under the “not talked about it” statement?
    I for one, am going to keep believing that we will indeed be seeing some (if not most) of the older GBA and GB games making their way to the DSi VC library eventually (it might not be anytime too soon, but I think it will eventually happen).

  8. ResidentialEvil says:

    He can spin it all he wants, but Friend Codes still suck.

    And no VC for the DSi? I think that will change. To not tap into the portable gaming library of the past would be quite silly.

  9. Craig says:

    I don’t mind that friend codes are here to stay. I’ve been gaming on Xbox Live since it’s launch and an open system where you can friend and talk to anyone doesn’t work. There’s way too much trash talking, singing and screaming going on in an open system.

    In the future (maybe Wii2) I hope they decide to use a universal friend code. As stated above it’s dumb that you have to friend someone in every game. Mario Kart isn’t as bad as you can easily friend people you are friends on the Wii console with.

  10. razorkid says:

    I agree with Craig. Until you’ve experienced the insanity that is xbox live, you truly cannot appreciate what Nintendo is trying to accomplish with friend codes. But I also agree that the process would be accepted more by the people who use them most ( or would use them most) if it was all unified under your system fc.

    That way, one 16 digit code was all I needed to give my friends so we could play any game together.

  11. Kai says:

    I’ve been on the fence about the DSi for a while now. This has kind of swayed me toward the “No thanks” side. Good to know!

  12. Lite says:

    I think I have a compromise. Tell me whether or not it sucks.

    -Leave Friend Codes up.
    -A Universal Friend Code in each system that does not have to be reassigned every time you pop in a new game.
    -UFC (Universal Friend Codes) displayed online so other people can register you.
    -People must ask to view your UFC by sending an invite, and then another invite to add you.

    It’s the best way to keep the “positive friend experience” while integrating an easier way of adding friends to your list. Am I right or wrong?

    As for Portable VC… Please, Nintendo! I beg you! I WANT MY POKeMON CRYSTAL!!!!!!!!

  13. WII-LUIGI$ says:

    All I can say on this is,…. REGGIE, THIS IS WAR!! I mean, Reggie has to have a screw loose to say something like this regarding the DSi. I hope something changes come E3 2009. If not that, I would hope to love to see Iwata over turn Reggie’s decision. I mean, Iwata IS the “PRESIDENT” of Nintendo.

  14. Craig says:

    @Lite I don’t think Nintendo would go for a system where people are requesting to view people’s profiles or they can make a request to be friends. With this approach you run into the whole child preditor problem as a random stranger can become friends with a kid over the Internet.

    The current friend code system you must know the person outside of Nintendo WFC. I don’t mind this because I can call my friend up and ask for their friend codes. I also like this system because it allows for sites such as this to strive. Small communities can be formed where everybody knows each other and can talk outside of the games. With Xbox Live you’re generally making friends with strangers and because of the ease of use there isn’t a need to reach out to find other people who have the games you own.

  15. Lite says:

    @ Craig:

    No, no, no! You misunderstood!

    Not a profile, just to view their Friend Code! And, you can always decline a request or block audio from certain people anyway on PSN or Xbox Live.

    Let me explain in detail how the request theory works in my plan:

    1. Player A has a UFC, or Universal Friend Code, which will be displayed permanently if Player A chooses.
    2. If Player A doesn’t want his UFC to be displayed at all times, he can choose to censor it until someone requests a private one-time view of his UFC. We’ll call this someone Player B, because I’m feeling creative.
    3. Player A comes into a choice. He can choose to a: not let Player B view his UFC, or b: Allow this person to see his UFC, which will only be displayed for about 10-15 seconds, and can only be seen by Player B once.
    4. Player B can then register Player A’s UFC if Player A allows him to view it.
    5. If Player B registers Player A’s UFC, then Player A will be notified that Player B has asked to be Friends with Player A.
    6. Player A then reaches another choice of whether or not to accept Player B’s Friend Request.
    7. If Player B’s request for Friendship is denied, then not only is Player A’s UFC deleted from Player B’s Friend List, but Player B can no longer ask Player A for his UFC.

    Make sense now?

    Of course, if both players know each other, both have the same games, and both have registered each other AT LEAST ONCE, they will both be automatically registered in each other’s Friend List upon playing a game supporting online connectivity.

    Does this sound reasonable and safe for you?

  16. Craig says:

    @Lite I might be missing something, but I don’t think that’s a safe system. The reason the current system is secure is because there’s no way for Player A to tell Player B their friend code or vica versa. They must exchange friend codes outside of Nintendo WFC so there’s some trust involved.

    What your proposing is similar to how Xbox Live works, just more complicated.

    Xbox Live: Player B sends a friend request to Player A. Player A accepts, they’re now friends.
    Your system: Player B sends a request to view Player A’s friend code. Player A accepts. Player B manually types the code. Player A gets a friend request and accepts. They’re now friends.

    If Player B is a predator they can still lure Player A in on both these designs.

    What’s the point of the step to allow Player B to view the friend code? The only reason Player B would have use for that code is to type it in and send a friend request. If Player A decides to deny that friend request Player B still has the friend code, which he can post on the Internet allowing other people to bypass the viewing of friend code step.

    The current system is secure because if Player B is a predator they still have to find a way to contact Player A. They might seek the person via Myspace or via real life, but either way it’s not Nintendo’s fault Player A and Player B became friends.

  17. DaveRage says:

    Personally, I wish Nintendo would do more with Friend Codes. They’re just not secure enough. Better to be safe than sorry. They should consider sending new codes each week directly to console’s message center.

  18. Lite says:

    @ Craig:

    Uh, I believe Player A will know something is wrong ONCE HE’S FLOODED WITH FRIEND REQUESTS THAT HE DIDN’T APPROVE OF!!

    And if you paid attention, you couldn’t be able to skip the process of viewing the UFC.

    By the way, the Friend Code System still isn’t safe. Why?

    Ever gone on MySpace, YouTube, and accessed Nintendo gamers public accounts? If you haven’t, then you should know that they usually display a series of FC’s from games that they play online.

    And last time I checked, the only two Wii games allowing voice chat are The Conduit and City Folk. As for DS, there’s more than two, but even then, you don’t have to exchange FC’s in Metroid Prime Hunters to be added onto a list and communicate.

  19. Lite says:

    ” They might seek the person via Myspace or via real life, but either way it’s not Nintendo’s fault Player A and Player B became friends.”

    You said it yourself.

    And I don’t think there’s been a lawsuit about a child being raped because he met a 42-year old predator on PSN or Xbox Live. If there was, tell me so I can change a few things with my plans.

    Let me give you an example. A good friend of mine started a WarHawk clan on PSN. There’s a lot of members, and only about two or three of them are people he knows personally. There’s also a few people who live in Europe and on the East Coast. If you listen to the sound of their voices, you can probably tell they’re in the age group of 15-18.

    One more thing. When was there a game on a Nintendo console that allowed you to make a profile that matches your real life to a T and display it for the world?

  20. N64 Games 4 The Win says:

    I Dont Get Why They Wouldn’t Put Games On The Virtual Console For The DSI, like think about this
    they just ditched all GBA games for the DSi,
    some DS games (Ex. The Pokemon Series)
    The only way you can catch some of the orignal pokemon would be to put in the GBA game, and catch it through that interface

    But I also somewhat (SEE I PUT SOMEWHAT)
    agree with Reggie
    too many repeat games

    Ex. The Legend Of Zelda,
    Downloadable For The Wii’
    And Remade For The GBA

    Ex. Pokemon Yellow, Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Red
    All The Same Game,
    Only differences are the colorsheme
    and what pokemon you start off with

    Solution
    Merge the games
    Is it that hard
    Ex. Mario Golf BG & Mario Golf GBA
    Put All The Courses And Charaters In One Downloadable Game
    Ohh Soo Hard JUST CUT AND PASTE (Or Whatever They Do)

    ——————————————————————-
    Keeping the friend codes is a smart Idea

    But also
    once their added, have the ability to add Usernames
    So instead of being 123-456-23132
    Be Sam Smith

    Is That SOOO Hard That Nintendo Cant Even Comprehend It???

  21. That Guy says:

    @N64 Games 4 The Win
    You really don’t understand the first thing about game development, online networks or comprehensive marketing.

    Copy and Paste? Really?

  22. Craig says:

    @Lite You don’t need the view friend code step then. You’re implying Nintendo should use a system similar to Xbox Live. Rather than having a nickname you’d be a number… kinda like ICQ.

    Like you said people share codes via external services like Myspace. If a kid friends a predator then the external service is to blame. Nintendo allowing random friend requests would put the blame in their court which is probably why they use these codes in the first place…

  23. John says:

    The price tag, the functionality, the “improvements”, all not reasons enough to draw me out.

  24. LuigiFreak says:

    I guess I’ll just save my money then. The only reason I want a DSi is because of VC. No other reason. I don’t care about the camera, the voice recorder, or any of the sort because I already have those things. I want to be able to play the GameBoy Pocket and Color games I missed out on like the Metroid titles and some of the Zelda titles. I also want to replay some of my favorite games that will be forever a part of my Childhood. Such games as the Super Mario Land series, the Pokemon series, and Tetris. So unless they release VC for DSi, I’m not buying it. I’ll stay with my Clunky blue one with the GBA slot.

  25. Liraco says:

    There goes my reason to get a DSi. You know how had it is to find the Zelda Oracle series?

    I’m sticking to my DS lite.

    As for friend codes… I’d be fine with it if you only needed one universal friend code. What, just because I’m friends with a guy or gal on one game means I don’t want to play with them on another one? Screw that. :P Seriously, one code is fine, one per game is too much.

  26. John says:

    I dont really oppose friend codes… I just want a little more functionality. One thing I really like about Xbox LIVE is the ability to see if your friends are on or not and what they are doing.

    I think friend codes are promoting a safer internet experience for kids, which is unquestionably Nintendos target audience. Ill just have to deal with it.

  27. Lite (on the DSi Browser!!) says:

    If I get Infendo at this quality on my DSi Browser, then I am not disappointed!

    @ Craig:

    Okay, look. I`m not saying that we should do away with FC`s. I agree that a UFC would be nice. But still, a simpler way to register people would be nice. Obviously, you disagree with my idea and I see why your point is true. But even so, a system like Xbox Live and PSN on the Wii would be much appreciated in some communities.

    I understand your side of the arguement. Maybe my system isn’t safe.

    “But that’s why we have cops!”

    CHA-CHIKA!

    (seriously, I am typing using the DSi Browser.)

  28. Craig says:

    @Lite How are you enjoying the browser? I switched it to Column view for Infendo and shrunk the font down to small so I didn’t have to scroll around as much. Other sites I’ve been using their mobile pages.

  29. Lite (on the DSi Browser!!) says:

    @ Craig:

    It’s great and it feels smoother than my computer, but it would help if I wasn’t piggybacking off my neighbor…

    Joking. I left it in the normal settings.

  30. Lite (on the DSi Browser!!) says:

    @ Craig:

    I don’t mind scrolling the screen. I didn’t like the column view on the Wii Browser either.

    Shut up DSi haters! This $#!t works great!

  31. Eolirin says:

    The only valid reason for FCs not being universal that I can come up with… is the assumption that a family shares the system, but that the game library is not equally shared. This allows for partioning by title, where your friends who play Brawl don’t get to interact with your little sister who plays Animal Crossing.

    There are valid reasons why you wouldn’t want that to happen, but the better solution is to have a profile system built into the main system, where a certain number of unique friend codes can be generated which are bound to individual profiles. Those unique friend codes are universal, but don’t communicate with the other friend codes on the Wii. You’d probably want to tie this into the Mii system, like Wii Fit does. Once you’ve done that, universal codes work just fine.

  32. Perestoronin says:

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