Nintendo has confirmed that the online infrastructure for new console Nintendo Switch, will finally ditch friend codes, the cumbersome system the company has used across its Wii, DS, 3DS and Wii U consoles.

Friend codes were lengthy sequences of numbers needed to add friends to your online friends list, and were the subject of criticism from their very first use. Switch players will not have to contend with them, but the system replacing codes has not been specified.

In an interview with CNET, Nintendo of the America president Reggie Fils-Aime said simply: "There are no friend codes within what we're doing."

On rival services, adding friends as is simple as searching for a username. This is likely the system that will replace friend codes on Switch. Whatever is put into place, it'll form part of Nintendo's new premium online service.

One of the more unexpected announcements at last week's (13 January) reveal presentation, Nintendo revealed that later this year it will begin charging users to access online play, with a subscription that offers benefits including exclusive deals and discounts, and free monthly games.

Nintendo Switch users will have free access to the service until later this year, after which they'll have to pay an unspecified price. Similar online services PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live retail at £39.99 for 12 months, but those services are held in a higher regard than Nintendo's once-free offering.

Asked about this, Fils-Aime said: "People have taken shots at us for that. The reality is, the way that online experiences have progressed, it's an expensive proposition. The amount of servers we need to support Smash Bros or Mario Kart – these big multiplayer games – is not a small investment."

Nintendo Switch will be released worldwide for £279/$299 on 3 March, 2017.

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