I don't understand the homebrew market at times.If you haven't already then look at the thread for Venture on the Atari XL/XE that was released fairly recently by Video 61. The game is $50 and yet doesn't even come with a box. Worse than that some people got cartridges that had the labels the wrong way round and others got shells that were not attached properly!
... to with the costs of the hardware and packaging (they boxes, overlays, and/or instructions are included) given the relatively low number of copies that are made of these games. ..
From what I've read on talks with Elektronite, the labels, boxes, overlays, and manuals do add up. Overlays, which are important for Intellivision game releases, can be particularly costly. Many printers also require large minimum orders and most people expect better quality than just laser printed manuals. We really need someone who does the stuff to better explain. I think you may be underestimating the costs. Insofar as the memory-based carts. Those exist for many systems already (Harmony for the 2600, CC3 for the Intellivision, etc). When people sell ROMs only to use with those carts, they do sell them for far less than any boxed cart release.
Its not just down to the cost of the hardware and the packaging, what about the persons time, surely they deserve a little back for the hours they invested in the project?
You mean cheaper and more stock?