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Last year Nintendo of America began selling retail downloads on its website, in what we hoped was a baby step towards a future where any game on the eShop can be easily bought online. Utilising the online capabilities of the Wii U and 3DS, it's possible to buy a game directly from the website and have it download automatically to your system, all through a linked Nintendo Network ID.

It's a feature that's been available for a while on other platforms and there are limited options to buy Nintendo download codes in multiple countries, but this new functionality in North America is the big N's biggest step forward to date.

Initially this store was limited to Nintendo-published retail games, but a range of Virtual Console and download-only games are starting to appear. In fact, when you now search for Wii U and 3DS games available to buy on Nintendo.com you get over 100 results.

It's great to see the range expand, with titles available including NES Remix 2 and EarthBound on Wii U, to Kirby Fighters Deluxe and Mega Man Xtreme 2 on 3DS; they're all games that Nintendo has published or directly licensed, which accounts for efforts from third parties such as Capcom and Konami. Though titles such as those originally on the Game Boy Advance are featured, it's still a fairly scattered collection; a bizarre absentee at the time of writing is Super Mario World, for example, while Nintendo is clearly still not at the stage where it can include third-party published games - of various sizes - in the project.

These are positive steps, of course, and we certainly hope that - with a dedicated Nintendo smartphone app expected this year - that 2015 will bring easy accessibility to the eShop from any device to allow us to buy games for our systems. An opportunity to gift games is also on our wishlist.

Let us know what you think of this gradual update, and what you want to see Nintendo offer in terms of selling eShop content online.

[via nintendo.com, gonintendo.com]