QR Codes, Gaming and Augmented Reality
With barcode scanning apps rapidly being developed, there has been plenty of innovative ideas as to how to use QR codes, but probably none as unique as this. QR codes have been around in Japan much longer than in the US, but this use of QR codes in Japan is definitely one of the most unique that I have heard of.
Love Plus, a virtual dating game that’s big in Japan, is being combined with QR codes in Atami, a beach town outside of Tokyo. The QR codes help to link real world objects with user’s virtual girlfriends. The “field trip” aspect of the game is where Atami fits in, providing 13 locations throughout the town that offer QR codes that can be scanned to view images of the virtual women. As a bonus, the virtual women wear different clothing from their typical looks, and one hotel has even put the QR codes in its rooms. This allows players to see their virtual girlfriends in a more private setting, wearing a summer kimono.
Although you may think that it seems odd to spend so much time on someone that’s virtual, players take Love Plus very seriously, A recent article in the gaming magazine thegamingmonitor covers the story of a man who married is virtual fiancée in a Tokyo ceremony.
You may be asking yourself what the benefit of all this is. For the user, it’s a chance to take their gaming experience to new heights; combining the virtual world with the physical that creates an augmented reality. For the town and hotel, the QR codes are bringing a lot of tourism that it hasn’t seen in years.
While this is an extremely creative way to use QR codes, I can’t help but think of moral implications… are real girlfriends getting jealous of virtual ones, can men cheat on their wives with a virtual girlfriend? I’m glad that tourism is up, but at the same time, I don’t know how I’d feel if this caught on in the US.