A developer has come up with an iPhone/iPod touch application that allows it’s patrons to purchase virtual items with real world money. With Little World Gifts, you can purchase a “virtual” Merry Christmas Elvis and send that virtual gift to someone. If that someone doesn’t have the application, you can send them a Facebook message which tells the recipient that they can download Little World Gifts to accept the gift. This allows Kisky Netmedia the ability to acquire more and more users that could potentially spend more real world money on useless virtual gifts. (Can you tell how I feel about this?)
Mind you, the virtual gifts that you get are not just pictures. They are 3D objects that can be rotated and animated… Wow, now that makes it all worth it, doesn’t it.
According to reviews of the app, gifts cost anywhere from $0.99 to $3.99. Those prices don’t seem all that much, but can add up really quickly since it’s so easy to purchase. I should know. I have over 1,000 apps that I have downloaded from the AppStore. Quite a few of them were not free.
I would expect that all purchases are final and you can only send the gift once. Once sent, it can not be “re-gifted” to someone else.
I’m actually surprised that this idea hasn’t been done up until now. The idea of virtual items for real money has been around for quite some time. Usually associated with MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Gmaes) in the form of virtual weapons, armor, etc… The game itself is free to play, but in order to do well in them, you are encouraged to spend real money.
Second Life is also a game/social networking program that lets you spend real money for Linden Bucks. There are some AppStore applications that have started doing this too. ngmoco, Inc. allows you to spend real money to purchase Dog Food (for Touch Pets Dogs) or Energy Packs (for Eliminate Pro) for the ability to play longer in those games. Mind you, you don’t have to purchase those items and in the long run, you don’t really get a virtual item. Sure, dog food and energy packs, but those items are “consumables” and don’t stick around forever.
I get a scary feeling that Little World Gifts is going to go over really well. Possibly to the extent that we might hear about someone who can’t afford their credit card bill because of it. Mind you, not right away since there are not that many gifts available yet. However, I can see someone going crazy.
OK, maybe not. I do know that this is the first of many more applications like to to show up in the AppStore. That you can take to the bank.