Developed in 1994 by Toyota the QR code is a type of barcode that arranges information in a grid like manner that allows it to achieve high data density and quick read times. Initially developed for industrial applications QR codes can no be seen everywhere from in-store displays containing a link to a website for use with a smartphone to video games were they may contain game or profile data among many other things such as in the Nintendo 3DS handheld system.
Use of Technology
When video games starting to become bundled with cameras, developers started to use them for QR code scanning. With any new technology there is never one standard/correct way to use the technology and developers continue to come up with ways to leverage technology in their game.
User Created Content
Made popular with the Nintendo 3DS, QR codes are used to trade user created content. Each game has it own custom QR pattern that the player can chose to create for their custom content. Within the game there is option to load content from a QR code using the built in camera. The QR codes are usually accompanied with a graphic or screenshot of the content as a preview of the content. This method of trading user created content has simplified the process by not having to depend on the game online features and or system's social aspects.
|Pyramids for the Nintendo 3DS. The QR code contains a user created puzzle level. The image of the level is above the QR code.|
|Pushmo for the Nintendo 3DS. The QR code contains a user created puzzle level. A preview of the level is on left of the QR code and the title of the level at the top. Head over to Giant Bomb's Official thread for Pushmo QR codes to see the amazing levels GB users have created.|
|Freakyforms: Your creations, Alive! for the Nintendo 3DS. The QR code contains a user created creature, in other words a freakyform.|
StreetPass Mii Plaza for the Nintendo 3DS. The QR code contains a user created Mii that can be used for any Mii supported 3DS game. This game/app is built into every Nintendo 3DS.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS. The QR code is used in the fabric shop and you can download various fabrics for clothes and misc items.
Another way developers have used this concept is by printing QR codes in various printed outlets such as magazines. If the player has the game and system near by, they can scan the QR code and unlock content inside the game. Unlike the user created content QR codes, these codes don't usually include a graphic of the content nor a label.
Pokedex 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. The QR code can be scanned to add a new pokémon to the Pokédex to view a 3D render of the pokémon and compare its stats.
Additional Game Info/Marketing
This type of QR code is leveraged the most in home consoles more then handhelds with built in cameras and QR code scanner. Typically the player will use their own device such as a mobile phone to perform the scanning. Once the codes are scanned they usually send the player to a website that contains additional information about the game or displays text on the device. The use of QR codes in this form is more of an easter egg than anything else.
Borderlands for the Xbox 360/PS 3/PC. The QR codes are find while you control the character around the in game world, posted on walls.
Nintendo has started to create QR codes for their digital 3DS's eShop. When the code is scanned using the Nintendo 3DS it will send the player directly to a particular game in the eShop to download.