Not to mention that if the option of downloading them is removed, the demand will sharply rise; and the prices with that. In an hypotetical world where dumped ROMs and Emulation never existed (so neither did the Virtual Console), old games would cost probably twice or thrice as much as they do today.
This is in a way what happened in Pinball recreations outside of Visual Pinball. With arcades becoming more rare, unless you knew a place or bought your own it was almost impossible to play a table. Sure, PinMAME existed but there's more to Pinball than it's ROM.
In comes FarSight's (yes, the Action 52 guys) Pinball Arcade with licences and the like to recreate them virtually, and they would charge what turned out to be basically 50 bucks a year due to yearly seasons (otherwise you would lose out in either "pro" stuff or would be paying out your bottom for every table you want individually). The physics and looks weren't exactly there all the time (especially physics), IIRC Pro Pinball still rules the roost in the IRL feel of pinball the closest, but people gathered around for playing the classics again in spite of it's flaws.
Just today however the Williams/Bally license switched to Zen Pinball. They typically charge around two dollars per table, but for a usually more stable and polished product when compared. Was the public loud enough to convince them to go to greener pastures, or was there a better deal on the horizon? Who knows until stuff's unveiled?