Sam Kennedy of 1Up said there would be no friend codes in Project Café. It’s definitely one of the boldest rumors so far, given Nintendo’s history, but now he’s re-iterated his thoughts in an article about how Nintendo plans to make their console more social.
Kennedy points out that “Nintendo has stated in the past that it would do more with online when the experience could be handled seamlessly and in a manner unique to Nintendo.” Apparently, this time has come.
So yeah, friend codes are gone. He doesn’t say what will take their place, but says “the new console will be designed around the concept of connecting, sharing, and gaming with others,” which has been speculated due to the use of the word “café” in the codename.
For practical purposes, he provides an example.
Imagine you have a friend playing Mario Kart on their Wii 2. Instead of just being told that your friend is playing a game, it actually shows you. The supposed streaming feature would allow you to see exactly what’s happening in your friend’s game, in a similar way to how OnLive streams game content. But the real draw is the seamless connectivity:
No waiting until the next match and no buffering to sync up consoles. Just a seamless online experience, exactly as Nintendo would want it.
Which, to me, sounds like Nintendo won’t try to compete with Xbox Live or PSN on the sole basis of having more features, but they’d tackle the single, core feature of joining and playing games with friends, and absolutely nail it with elegance.
Kennedy goes on to say that “the beauty of this is that the concept extends to not only new games, but potentially Nintendo’s back catalog of classics,” explaining:
Got a friend racing the AI in Super Mario Kart? What if the game was retrofitted so that you could hop right in at any given moment?
The last big feature in this realm would deal with content sharing. Essentially, this is going to be an interesting version of WiiConnect24:
…imagine checking your Project Cafe each morning and seeing new creations from your friends or even Nintendo. New levels for games, new characters or items to use, new demos for games you’re interested in — there could be all sorts of new things to see and do each time you open your console.
It’s nothing we haven’t heard before, but it makes it no less of an exciting prospect to wake up in the morning and have new content waiting for us. No platform has really nailed it yet either, so nothing’s stopping Nintendo from being the first.
Before you take everything as 100% fact though, Kennedy does admit that “I really have no idea how much of this Nintendo will actually achieve with its new console,” but he has heard “rumblings,” which is what he’s shared with us.
That said, Kennedy does finish the article with two assurances:
This is absolutely the direction Nintendo is headed with its next console.
Regardless of whether this all materializes in Project Cafe or in some console or handheld later, the future of social gaming as envisioned by Nintendo is sounding pretty darn exciting.