Here's why Nintendo uses 12-digit friend codes

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Nintendo internal presentation has leaked that details why the company opted for 12-digit friend codes to pair with friends instead of screen names.

The internal Powerpoint presentation is one of many documents obtained by hackers who have published to a number of websites. In it, a slide details why the Wii opted for the 12-digit friend code system over screen names.

At first there were opinions that instead of 12-digit numbers, a freely chosen screen name would be better.
There is a high probability of duplicate screen names. When this happens, multiple reentries are required. (Conflicts with the ‘Simple’ principle. It’s possible to guess someone’s screen name by trying different variations of their actual name. (Conflicts with the ‘Comfortable’ principle.)
12-digit friend codes moved from the Wii to the 3DS to the Switch.

Nintendo has advised that the Nintendo Network ID system had been hacked; leading Nintendo to disable login via the system. Nintendo has advised users to turn on two-factor authentication.
 
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