The virtual gifts market is reportedly worth $1bn and with the holiday season approaching one UK start-up is bringing the idea to the iPhone.
Little World Gifts is an iPhone/iPod Touch app that allows users to send each other virtual gifts.
There’s a twist though; unlike traditional virtual gifts that are little more than a picture of an item, Little World’s gifts are 3D rendered items. What’s more, thanks to multitouch you can scale and rotate the gifts as you wish, making them seem a little more like something of value.
The ‘3D gifts’ idea really does have the effect of making the gifts appear more ‘valuable’. While Facebook’s virtual gifts may have got boring, these 3D gifts feel a bit more valuable. A nice touch is that if scale the image too large it bumps against the glass of your screen (complete with a sound effect), increasing the idea of the gift being real.
Little World Gifts uses iPhone OS 3.0’s in-app purchase capability to allow gifts to be bought using your iTunes account from within the app. Facebook Connect is used to allow you to select a recipient for a gift from your Facebook friends list. Push notifications are used to notify you when a new gift arrives.
Little World Gifts is the brainchild of a six-strong Liverpool-based team including Katie Lips and Jonathan Deamer, two people well-known in the UK for their tech-industry smarts. It shows – although initially aimed at the Christmas 2009 market, the idea of 3D gifts sitting on a shelf within the app could really take off.
Seasonal special items, limited edition items, marketing tie-ins with big brands… it’s all possible with this app if the public take to it.
Little World Gifts launches worldwide in the iTunes App Store in December.
Read next: 3D virtual gifts come to the iPhone