Originally Posted by Sephnroth
If I actually do this (not guranteed) I might release it, free download, and put a tips box up (ie, paypal button :P) "pay what you want, if you want" and use that as a shallow judge of what interest there is in new dev.
The problem is that by setting the game as free you are already priming the buyers with the idea that your game has no value. You are selling yourself short essentially. Scientifically this is called anchoring: people will use the first given value (zero) as reference so you must be very careful to select a neutral one of you want to measure interest.
People who know you will pay higher because they can associate some worth to your person and thus your work but people who have very little information about you and the game will take no risks and go with the suggested value: none.
Measuring real interest is hard, really hard. Scientists who organize these kind of surveys must take an enormous amount of precautions to eliminate all kinds of unconscious biases before they are certain they are measuring the real variable they are interested in.
We like to think that we are rational creatures but we just aren't.
You want an objective amount of interest? Obtain the number of downloads for Amiga ROMs and compare with AmigaForever sales.
Another one: look at the price of Moonstone on eBay. Not many sales but clearly a lot of interest. But it is an absolutely unique and rare game and every one who knows the game knows it so they are willing to get rid of their monies to obtain the real thing instead of a shady rom download with a cracker intro. (Note: the download is shady, not the cracker intro, these are usually nice.)
There is an enormous amount of factors which come into play when attributing a value to a virtual (downloadable game, KS ROM) or physical (game with manual in box) good.
Look at the prices of 16 bit consoles games which have an identical version on Amiga (LotusII, Jungle Strike, Desert Strike, etc.): two to three times the price, and five to twenty times the number of sales, all that with buyers which were on average poorer than Amiga owners.
Buyers who benefited from a zero value offering: got the cracked version.
Buyers who had no choice but to pay: paid the price.
Determining interest is reaaaally hard.