ByMichael Mitchell, writer at
Former Staff Writer for Now Loading. Currently tweeting things here:
Michael Mitchell

The Switch is nearly upon us, and as a result, Nintendo's starting to change a few things on its backend systems. Or, more specifically, Nintendo has changed one thing. In addition to all the other settings you'll find on your Nintendo Account page, there is now a new option to select a user ID.

In all likelihood, this will be related to the Switch and its online functionality, so you may want to claim your ID sooner rather than later. Yes, this is a brand-new thing. And yes, it's confusing.

What Is A Nintendo Account User ID? Don't I Already Have One?

For whatever reason, Nintendo likes to give people a lot of different accounts to keep track of. You don't have a Nintendo Account User ID already, but you likely have a Nintendo Network ID (NNID). Yes, there's a difference. You may also have a Nintendo Account (but not a user name for it).

Confused? Let's go over the differences quickly, courtesy of Nintendo's own support site:

  • A Nintendo Account: "A Nintendo Account is created off-device (through A Nintendo Account is necessary to use certain web services (like My Nintendo) and can be used with smart-device applications (like Miitomo). Your Nintendo Account can be linked to other accounts, such as your Nintendo Network ID, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ account. You can then use those accounts' user name and password to sign in to your Nintendo Account."

This is essentially the umbrella under which all other Nintendo-related things fall. This is something you can use on your desktop/laptop to access special offers on Nintendo products, as well as what you'll need to go to if you ever want to changes major online preferences.

  • A Nintendo Network ID: "A Nintendo Network ID is created and used on a Wii U and/or Nintendo 3DS family system. NNIDs are used for online features (such as online multiplayer or interactions) and for purchasing downloadable software through Nintendo eShop."

Basically, the NNID is what you use for anything online within a system. It can be shared across a Wii U and a 3DS but only one of each console, and multiple NNIDs cannot be registered to the same device. It was Nintendo's way of making owners of their most recent console and handheld devices have an easier, more consistent way to interact.

  • A Nickname: This one doesn't have an official description, but it's fairly self-explanatory. This is the thing other online players will see, usually it's just your name... but you're welcome to get creative with it.

Okay, so with all of that in mind, the new hotness is a Nintendo Account User ID. It's not entirely clear why Nintendo's added this extra layer of name-ification, but it seems like it may be the Switch's equivalent of a NNID. It also may be a step toward tying games to an account rather than a system, but it's not entirely clear at the moment.

So How Do I Claim It?

This part is pretty easy. All you have to do is go to your Nintendo Account's user info page and scroll down to the "user ID" section. From there, just hit "edit" and you'll be taken to the above screen. A few relatively minor things to keep in mind:

  • It does not keep any capitalization
  • Letters and numbers only
  • It can be changed at any time (assuming it's not taken)

Really, that's pretty much it! The reason people are making a big deal out of this is because they want to claim their name of choice before it gets taken. If that's not all that important to you, it'll mostly just save time when you set up your Switch console.

Now What?

Fun fact: 'Breath of the Wild' isn't the only Zelda title with spoken dialog.
Fun fact: 'Breath of the Wild' isn't the only Zelda title with spoken dialog.

Basically... you wait. There's no real use for this until the Switch releases in just over a week, but you can take solace in the fact that you've saved yourself a bit of time on setting up your system come March 3rd. Forget all that introductory junk, you just want to play as quickly as possible!

And you never know, maybe also in the fact that this represents a clean slate for your online persona. Where your NNID failed, your NNAUID (not an official acronym) can succeed! Or maybe not. But at least it's something to hold us over until the Switch is out.

How are you going to pick your Account User ID name? Was it even necessary to add yet another ID?


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