I don't remember, we had a discussion about it on another forum and everyone brought in a bunch of links. I remember reading that N are trying to convince 3rd party developers to re-release their old ROMs on the online service for free, which implies the first party ones will be free also. As Salt [Black Wizards] says, emulators would have killed off such a service preemptively. And Nintendo really needs a killer app.
If the Wi-Fi online service is going to be free, there's no reason for not releasing the games which aren't doing anything anyway for free. Assuming they're just ROMs, that is. But there's no reason they'd have to be ported, there are already NES-on-chips and the GBA and DS already include the equivalent of a SNES and N64 core.
The cost'd be offset by flash card sales to some extent for big users of the service I suppose.
If emulators were such a threat to the sale of old games, how come companies keep selling their old games? Midway Arcade Classics, The Megaman Anniversary Collection, all the GB versions of old NES games, and those cheesy joystick things that plug into your TV and play Atari games... these things make money. Emulators are great when you're poor, but then you grow up and realize that playing console games on your PC is pretty ghetto. I wouldn't mind paying a reasonable price to play some of the classics on a new system, and I'm not alone. In fact, if Nintendo made a console that did nothing *but* play old games, it would probably be great for them. Nothing but profit. Not that I'd prefer that they do that, but I'm just saying they could.
You know what's even more ghetto? My Game-Box Station. It's a 350mhz with a Rage II (boo hiss) and a ten gig drive filled with "games". It's got a little front end type deal that asks you what system you want play, when it boots, all controlled by my pad. It's just bigger than an Xbox, and probably eats twice the power, but it is hooked up to my TV.
Kirby: i meant all the first-party nintendo games from NES/SNES/N64 gen would be free
Its not official i dont think, but its highly likely. many websites and newspapers are going around saying this, ill go looky for a few links.
Radix: Its WIFI and Online ready FREE out of the box, that i know is official.
"George Harrison(Nintendo Vice President): Well, we can use it in a variety of ways. We've used some of the older games already as little bonuses, either as bonus gifts or hidden in levels of games. Certainly for the first-party titles we'll be making some of those available. We haven't really talked about whether we would sell them. The third parties can make their own decision whether they want to sell them, or maybe they will add it on as sort of a free benefit when you buy a current version of the game. "
Sounds like Nintendo is leaning towards having First-party N titles for free, lets see how it plays out though.