Nintendo 3DS and Wii U owners in North America now have the option to purchase and pre-order digital games via the web and send the download to their consoles, similar to Microsoft's browser-based Xbox Games Store and the Sony Entertainment Network store.
According to posts pointing out the service on NeoGAF and Tiny Cartridge, the service extends to a select number of games, all of which are Nintendo-published titles. These include Hyrule Warriors, Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
Here's how it works: when purchasing a game via Nintendo's website, select the "Buy Digital" option. You'll be asked if you'd like the download code to be sent directly to your Wii U or 3DS. A Nintendo Network ID is required for this to work.
Additionally, Nintendo is offering pre-order options for a handful of upcoming titles, including Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and 3DS titles Fantasy Life, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. There is no pre-load option, but the download will be sent to your console when the game launches.
Earlier this week, NeoGAF user "L~A" also discovered the quiet launch of eshop.nintendo.net. The site allows users to log in with a NNID and redeem eShop codes. Players can then select whether they want the game to automatically download to their console while it's in Sleep Mode or while it's on.
For now it seems the service is unavailable outside of North America. We've reached out to Nintendo for information on the company's plans to launch it in other territories.