QR Code In Games: See How Playing Becomes More Interactive

The wave of QR Code technology has hit almost every sector. And the world of games is no exception to it.

Playing games has always been seen as a fun-filled activity. And with QR Codes, playing now becomes more interactive and interesting.

Various corporate activities today invest in games with printed QR Code on them. Besides, even game developers are creating QR Code based gaming apps. Popular gaming apps such as Angry Birds have a QR Code embedded in it.

Gamers will have to use their smartphones to engage with the QR Codes – either in-game or out-of-game – to view reveal secret information, earn points or weapons, or unlock goodies. For gamers, it’s like finding Easter eggs.

Game developers leverage QR Code technology to enhance the ‘hunt and gather’ thrill in games.

Scroll down to see how QR Codes are adding more entertainment.

A. Why use QR Code in games

Here are a couple of reasons why you should use QR Code in games:

1. Boost engagement

While you add QR Code in your games, make sure that the players are aware of its purpose. Only then they would be coming back for new QR Codes, to win rewards, or to find a treasure. QR Codes will build audience curiosity and keep them glued to the game.

2. Stimulate word-of-mouth marketing

When a person likes your game, there is a high probability that they will recommend your game to other people. Thus, giving an impetus to word-of-mouth marketing.

Plus, when people see others talking about QR Code based games, they will definitely want to try it and see how it works.

All this will increase user adoption. And lead to better returns on your investment.

So by using QR Codes, you can not only make your game modern and tech-savvy, but also unique and engaging.

B. Use cases of QR Codes in games

Here is how you can use QR Code in games:

1. QR Code within the game

In this use case, QR Codes can be categorised into two ways depending on how they are used in the game:

a. In-game QR Codes

Virtual QR Codes that appear within PC/console games fall under this category. Here are examples of a couple of QR Code based games:

i. Homefront

Homefront, a popular FPS game, has 10 QR Codes scattered across the game story.

QR Code in games: homefront

When scanned using a smartphone, the QR Codes reveal exclusive content on the Homefront world and backstory.

ii. Watch Dogs

QR Code in games; Watchdog

Watch Dogs, a third-person shooter game, allows gamers to collect items by scanning QR Code placed on 16 different locations in the game.

iii. Angry Birds

Angry Birds Star Wars series character, Rovio has a tiny QR Code on its base. On a clear plastic, the code becomes magnified.

Angry birds QR Code
Source: Polygon.com

You just need to scan this QR Code through your device’s camera and the character will be zapped into the game almost immediately.

b. Printed QR Codes

Printed QR Codes that appear in the real world and are part of the gaming experience fall under this category.

i. QR Code Scavenger Hunts

QR Codes are now a common addition to scavenger hunts to hide digital clues. Munzee, a global scavenger hunt, has scattered ~4.2 million QR Codes across the world.

QR Code in games: Munzee

Participants of the game are required to find and scan these QR Codes to earn points.

QR Code Scavenger Hunt game is also a part of fun activities in the corporate world. Here, QR Codes are used to hide questions and clues.

QR Code in games: Scavenger Hunt

For more information, you can refer to this detailed guide on QR Codes in Scavenger Hunt.

And to create a QR Code for such games and activities, you can use an online professional QR Code generator tool such as Scanova.

ii. Borderlands 2

Borderlands, an FPS game, allows users to scan real-life UPC barcodes and QR Codes on everyday items using the LootTheWorld app. Some of these codes will earn gamers weapons.
For more information, you can refer to this detailed guide on  Borderlands 2 SHiFT Code.

iii. Nintendo 3DS games

In Nintendo 3DS games like Tomodachi Life and Animal Crossing, gamers can add avatars by scanning Mii QR Codes. A Mii is a free-form digital avatar which can be created using the Mii Maker on the 3DS or the Mii Channel on the Wii.

nintendo games with qr code

Each Mii comes with a QR Code to allow gamers to share Miis between them.

Also read: Mii QR Codes: Add new Miis to your Nintendo 3DS or Wii.

Nintendo’s Mini-NES, launched in July 2016, comes with a set of 30 games. The list includes games such as Doctor Mario, Double Dragon 2- the revenge, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros. (1-3).

Each game comes with a unique QR Code on the screen. When scanned, it will lead the player to copies of original instruction books for each game.

Also, in 2016, UK’s Camelot added QR Codes on its lottery tickets. On scanning this QR Code, one can check if she has won or not.

If you’ve developed a game and want to create in-app QR Codes in real-time, you can use QR Code generation API.

Using this, you can generate QR Codes programmatically. You just need to send a trigger request with data (QR Code size, design, format and the data to be saved in it) to Scanova’s API. The API will then respond with the QR Code image.

2. QR Code in ordinary games for fun

As a part of the academic or corporate world, you do participate in fun activities and games occasionally. And with QR Codes, you can make these games much more interactive. Here’s how:

a. QR Code reflection cubes

Just like a Rubik cube, you can print colorful QR Codes on all six sides of the cube. And in these QR Codes, you can encode reflection questions.

QR Code in games- reflection cubes

For example, educators can create reflection cube and place it in the classrooms. And then ask students to answer the reflection question decoded on scanning the QR Code.

b. QR Code on Secret Santa

Make Secret Santa merrier and more enjoyable by adding QR Codes to it.

QR Code in games: Secret Santa

To keep the game utter transparent, you can encode names of the participants in a QR Code slip. And then shuffle these and let participants pick a random slip.

Upon scanning, they would know the name of the person whom they have to gift.

To know exactly how to play it, you can refer to this detailed guide.

3. QR Code for your game app promotion

As a game developer, you obviously want more-and-more people to download your app. And in offline promotions, QR Codes can help increase traffic on your gaming app.

All you need to do is create a QR Code by adding your app link to it. You can then print the QR Code on print media creatives such as pamphlets and brochures, which you use for promotions.

Upon scanning, the end users will be redirected to your app. This will save their time and effort to manually type the app link. And hence, make it easy for them to download your app.

For more information, you can refer to this detailed guide on how to create QR Code for app links.

Furthermore, while you create the QR Code, here are some best practices, which you can follow for best results:

a. Add design to QR Code

QR Codes are not just black-and-white matrix of squares. You can customize your QR Code and make it completely branded. That is, you can add a logo, change the background color or place a background image to your QR Code.

Add help note to QR Code on brochures

Plus, since your use case is marketing, you should design your QR Code. Custom-designed QR Code attracts 50-200% more scans as compared to black-and-white ones.

Also note that if you customize the background color of your QR Code, ensure that there is enough contrast between background color and data modules. That is, if the background color is dark, then the color of data modules should be light and vice-versa.

b. Add a CTA element

That is, tell the users what they exactly need to do. For this, you can write help notes such as ‘Scan to download app’.

This will guide the users of what they will achieve after scanning. Thus, the CTA element is important to lead people to download your app.

c. Export in vector formats

It is important to choose the right format of QR Code image to ensure proper scannability. If you want to place the QR Code ( advertisement with QR Code) on a large surface, then export in vector formats.

Vector QR Code images are high resolution images, which do not get pixelated when scaled. And they come in SVG, EPS, PS, and PDF formats.

That’s it. So, follow these best practices in order to create QR Codes flawlessly.

Now you know how QR Codes can add more fun and entertainment to the games. So, add a QR Code to your game now to make it more interesting, engaging, and interactive.


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