Nintendo has officially confirmed the date of the much-anticipated 3DS system update that heralds the arrival of the eShop, an online store allowing users to browse and purchase downloadable games.

The free update will be available in North America on the evening of June 6th, and in Japan on June 7th.

An internet browser will also be part of the update, which coincides with the date of the format holder's E3 conference.

So far, Nintendo hasn't announced when the update might be available in Europe, but it's reasonable to assume that a near-simultaneous launch in those two territories will likely mean a similar release time for PAL gamers.

Opening the virtual store doors

After a solid launch line-up, the 3DS has been a little light on new releases lately, with many users anticipating the imminent arrival of the eShop, set to feature both new downloadable titles and a series of classic games via the Virtual Console service, which has been popular on the Wii.

At an investor meeting recently, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced that a 3D version of NES classic Excitebike would be available to download at launch. Meanwhile, Shigeru Miyamoto recently hinted at a 3D update of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

[UPDATE: we've since learned that the eShop will be available to download in Europe on June 7th.]