When you pick up that shiny new Nintendo 3DS on March 27, you might be surprised to learn that some of its promised features won't be ready right out of the box. Nintendo plans to release its first major feature update for the 3DS near the end of May via the SpotPass functionality, which will let you receive and download updates when your 3DS is connected to a Wi-Fi signal.
Perhaps the most significant feature in this update is the Nintendo eShop. Similar to the Wii Shop Channel on the Wii, the 3DS eShop is where you'll be able to purchase games, including those made specifically for the 3DS as well as classic games from older handhelds like the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color. Some classic games available for purchase will also be updated to make use of the 3DS's 3D feature and will be called 3D Classics. The eShop will also let you download demos of games as well as special movie trailers that can be watched in 3D on the system.
Nintendo has stated that it was unhappy with the interface found in the Wii Shop channel, so the company is taking its time to ensure that it's easier to discover games and various types of software, with the ultimate goal of making it fun to shop. Nintendo has yet to reveal the specific date or pricing options for items found in the eShop.
The Internet browser is another big part of the May update. When you start your Nintendo 3DS, you'll see a small globe icon on top of the bottom screen in the far right corner. If you click on that icon now, you will get a message saying the Internet browser isn't available.
DSi owners will be happy to know that a future update will also make it possible to transfer some of their purchased DSiWare software to the 3DS. However, it seems the number of transfers will be fixed at a specific number, and not all software is transferable. Nintendo has yet to officially reveal any details on the process or how many transfers will be allowed.
And finally, this summer, Netflix will become available on the 3DS. While you can't watch Netflix content in 3D, subscribers can access the Netflix library through the system and watch streaming content made available by the service, much as it functions on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii.
Nintendo has said that it will release more updates through the SpotPass feature of the system when necessary, so while the May update will be the first large-scale push, it won't be the last.