Nintendo Finally Makes Online Play Easy With 3DS

The Friend Code, the bane of every modern Nintendo gamer's existence, is getting a major overhaul with the release of the 3DS, allowing friends to find friends with little to none of the hair-pulling frustration that is currently involved.

Gamers who try to play online with others using the DS or the Nintendo Wii currently have to exchange a set of 16-digit numbers to connect. Sometimes they have to do so twice, depending on the game they play. And often the game doesn't remember those codes, turning an online session of gaming into something more akin to math than fun.

But the 3DS fixes some of that when it hits Japan in February and the U.S and Europe in March. The new Friend Code system will now be tied directly to the 3DS you own and there will only be one for each system, so no more secondary Friend Codes for games.

The system, Nintendo tells us, will also be able to remember the codes you put in for your Friends and track whether they are currently online or not. If they're online, one of the lights in the top right corner of the portable will glow orange to alert you.

The 3DS will have an app that tracks and can give you the current status of your friends at any given time.

And finding and becoming friends sounds like it will sometimes be easier as well. While we don't yet know if they Friend Code will be a 16-digit number, or even a number at all, we do know that you will have to exchange them just once with your friend to offer and accept a friendship on the 3DS.

But if you're connected with another friend via local wireless, you won't even have to do that. Instead you can push a button to accept or send friend requests and the 3DS will take down the number automatically and remember it.

While this new system still isn't as effortless as being able to create easy-to-remember user names and connect them with a message from anywhere, a system that both the PS3 and Xbox 360 use, it's much better than the intricacies and extra numbers of the current Wii and DS Friend Code system.

What we don't yet know, what no one at the event could yet answer for us: What format will the Friend Codes be in? Numbers or names and how long are they. And is there a cap for your friends list.

Stay tuned to Kotaku's 3DS page for a day full of updates, interviews and videos.