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Borderlands 2 mobile app turns QR codes into absurd in-game armaments (update: how it works!)

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Borderlands 2 is attempting the Herculean task of exciting people about QR codes. With its new LootTheWorld mobile app, Gearbox Software (Borderlands, Brothers in Arms and, er, Aliens: Colonial Marine) is turning any barcode or QR square into in-game gear like acid-burst armor or a flame-spewing sniper rifle with a 12x zoom scope.

Whether you bought the game last year or just downloaded it for free from the PlayStation Store, this app could be one of the more useful mobile companions on your phone. Perhaps best of all, it's free and available right now from iTunes and Google Play. We've reached out to Gearbox for info on how the loot is determined and will update this post if we hear back. You should hurry along though; Mercenary Day is almost upon us.

Update: Gearbox got back to us about how the app determines what gear comes from the scans. The loot is totally random (just like it is in the game proper), but there's a twist: Once you scan a product UPC or a QR code, the generated item is forever tied to that item. For instance, if you get a rocket launcher that does ice damage from a box of Honey Nut Cheerios, everyone who scans the cereal will get it. Gearbox's Adam Fletcher tells us this was designed so you could tell your friends where to find wacky kit in the real world.

When we asked how the loot distribution worked, Fletcher assured us it was totally random and not tied to a real-world product's price. "A small box of paper clips could mean a legendary and your 50-inch Samsung [TV] may not," he said.

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