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Barcoding for Independent Games


Its seems that there is some confusion on the nature of the obtaining and using barcodes on a product, particularly relating to "second hand" barcodes. I've mentioned the process of barcoding in previous blogs so may be repeating myself, but think its a worthwhile risk in the cause of clarity. All the following advice is based on my personal understanding only and pertains to UK barcoding only.

A barcode is a series of numbers uniquely identifying your product for the purpose of retail, it is not technically the black and white lines which allow scanners to quickly read this number. There is no legal requirement to have a barcode whatsoever in the UK, Europe or anywhere else so far as I know. Their purpose is to identify products to retailers and if you intend to sell purely by Kickstarter or direct online sales you can skip them entirely. However, no retailer (including online retailers) or distributor will touch your product without a barcode so they can be worth the effort.

Firstly, there is only one place in the UK barcodes can be generated, GS1UK (www.gs1uk.org). A barcode is not like a QR code, for example, where you type in a word or number which is rendered into a scanable image. Rather, GS1UK will generate a batch of barcodes all registered in your company name which you can then register to specific products as and when you choose. Once you have registered a barcode with GS1UK it will forever attach to your product when scanned. If an app or website does generate a barcode image directly based on a typed in set of information in the fashion of a QR code generator it should be considered a novelty with no real retail usage.