Posts Tagged virtual gift

Holiday Giving and the Coming Boom

Do you remember when you first heard about buying books online or sending e-cards? How about when you first gave or received one? For many of you that was a decade ago so you’ve already witnessed a surprising boom whose footprints were first heard during holiday season. Listen closely and you’ll hear the coming boom in virtual property during this years holiday season as more and more people by virtual gifts in virtual worlds:

You don’t wrap these presents in a box. You can’t wear them, play with them or show them off, at least not in the real world.

Even so, virtual gifts — computer-generated items given and displayed online — are quickly becoming must-haves. And increasingly, people are willing to pay cold, hard, real-life cash to purchase them for friends, family and co-workers.

…Since they were introduced in February, Facebook says its users have purchased more than 24 million of these dollar items, which are sold in limited editions to generate more interest. …

The ease of giving a virtual gift is definitely part of the attraction, he says.

“A few clicks and it’s done. No worries about FedEx or the post office getting it there on time,” Roberts says.

… In a sense, these gifts are supplanting electronic cards, online greetings that are waning in popularity, according to Internet watchers. People are becoming more willing to pay for something you can’t touch or hold in your hand. …

The novelty is driving the market for virtual gifts and goods. So is the frenzy to gain status on social networking and virtual world sites, says Robbie Blinkoff, an anthropologist who studies online trends.

“There’s a lot of money to be made,” says Blinkoff, managing director of Context-Based Research Group in Baltimore. …

“It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that it’s not real because it’s digital. But we have plenty of digital items that have value,” says Jeska Dzwigalski, who works in community and product development for Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life. “Have you ever bought a song on iTunes? Have you ever paid for software?”

… Steve Auerbach, a dad in the Los Angeles area, says he’s realized that the virtual world isn’t something to fear. … “So much of our world is intangible now. (Giving a virtual gift) is still about the act of giving and receiving,”

Associated Press: Are Virtual Gifts Worth It?

As in the early days of Amazon, there are of course many skeptics who are saying it’s just a passing fad, that there just isn’t a replacement for the tangible gift … and real presents will make a comeback. However the coming boom has been mentioned in many posts here since the summer and in the first of these I noted the trends “connecting the tangible world of consumers, manufacturers, suppliers, and engineers with the virtual world.”. The foundations for this boom have been evolving for some time as the ever-increasing capabilities of 3d-printing bring a new level of empowerment to prosumers.


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