There's been plenty of confusion lately about the launch of the 3DS's eShop, which will allow users to download DSiWare games, 3DS demos and more. At first we believed the store would be ready at launch, then Nintendo Japan's financial results claimed the 3DS eShop would launch in May. Now Nintendo America has clarified that at the very least the Virtual Console will be available on the console's launch day, according to an article by IGN.
It's important to note that some of these features, most notably the Virtual Console/e-Shop idea, will not be available out of the box, but will need to be downloaded from a Wi-Fi connection. Nintendo has clarified that the Virtual Console will be available immediately upon the launch of the 3DS.
As with our world-beating Wii Virtual Console service, we here at Nintendo Life will review every single game released for the 3DS Virtual Console which, combined with our DSiWare reviews, creates an unassailable library of digital download review goodness. Nice.
UPDATE: IGN has since changed their statement about the 3DS Virtual Console being available on launch day in their "3DS Buyer's Guide" and now state that the service will indeed come in the form of a system software update in late May, as previously stated. Below is the snippet from their guide which shows the change. We apologize for any inconvenience this misinformation may have caused.
It's important to note that some of these features will not be available out of the box, and will need to be downloaded from a Wi-Fi connection. Nintendo has revealed that a worldwide update, scheduled for late May, will enable some of this functionality, most notably the eShop (including the Virtual Console) and DSi-to-3DS data transfer. - 3DS Launch Guide (IGN)