Microsoft has unveiled a second-generation interactive colour barcode that can store double the data of standard black and white barcodes.
The High Capacity Colour Barcode (HCCB) is expected to start appearing on Xbox 360 games and DVDs in the UK by the end of this year.
The barcode consists of up to eight coloured triangles, embedded with as many as 3,500 alphabetical characters of data per square inch.
Data is likely to include email addresses and the URL of a website offering downloadable content, and can be scanned by consumer devices such as webcams and mobile phone cameras.
US company DatatraceDNA will embed a nano-particle into the code as an anti-counterfeiting measure.
Gavin Jancke, a research engineering director at Microsoft, told the BBC that HCCB is not intended to replace the standard UPC system of black and white striped barcodes, but is "more of a partner".
"The UPC barcodes will always be there. Ours is more of a niche barcode where you want to put a lot of information in a small space," he said.
The International Standard Audiovisual Number, a voluntary numbering system for audio-visual products such as DVDs and digital marketing material, is the first organisation to license the technology.
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