There has been a lot of talk about unscrupulous people illegally selling systems with Retropie installed.
Would it be possible to beat them at their own game?
I think the people buying these ready-made systems are most likely non-techie types who don't feel they would be able to do it for themselves.
We all know how simple it is to set up a Retropie system, but someone who is completely non-techie might not realize this because they are too intimidated to even look into it in the first place.
Many people (including me) probably don't have too high an opinion of people who won't go to the trouble of learning, but this is the reality of the situation, and these are the people who are buying illegal Retropie installations.
How about offering a service like the old public domain libraries?
They didn't used to charge for the software itself, but they would charge a nominal fee for the floppy disk, shipping and handling etc.
Would it be above board to provide a service like this?
The customer could make a small donation, and mail an SD card and include an envelope and a stamp for return shipping.
Or, a ready-made SD card could be sold for a small fee just to cover the cost of the SD card and shipping/handling.
I'm not really suggesting this as a way of making a huge profit or even providing a needed service, but as a way of taking away the market for the pirates who are currently making money from Retropie.
People selling legitimate bundles (case, controllers, psu etc) could simply provide a link to the official SD card sales page.
This doesn't help with getting roms into Retropie, but there's nothing we can do about that.
At the very least, this may make the pirates stop selling Retropie and turn to offering flash drives full of roms, but that's somebody else's problem.