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Prepaid eShop cards for 3DS with AR functionality coming to Japan April 23

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Nintendo 3DS owners in Japan will be able to buy prepaid 3DS eShop cards that double as augmented-reality cards featuring Nintendo characters as of April 23, the company announced today during a Nintendo Direct presentation.

The cards will be sold at retail in denominations of 1,000 yen (Goomba), 2,000 yen (Mario) and 3,000 yen (Peach). A second set of cards will be released at an unannounced future date, featuring Koopa, Luigi and Bowser.

By scanning a QR code on the card, users will be able to download a free app from the 3DS eShop in which they can activate the AR characters from the cards. The app can be used to take photos with the characters, and it supports multiple cards at once — in those cases, the characters will interact with each other.

You can check out the cards in action during the Nintendo Direct video. The relevant section begins at 7:45.

There's no word on whether this program will be available stateside. We've reached out to Nintendo to find out.