3DS project lead Hideki Konno has said the 3DS's eShop won't be available at the console's launch because it needs to be better than previous Nintendo digital offerings.
"We definitely want to make sure that it's ready before we bring it out," Konno told Gamasutra.
"The iterations that we've had before - for Wii and DS - to be honest, we just haven't been as satisfied as we would like."
Konno said the current, browser-based eShop interface isn't as easy to use, hasn't been used as often, and hasn't garnered as enthusiastic a response Nintendo would like.
The software veteran highlighted the separation of the Wii's promotion channel from the main store as a specific flaw.
"And for Nintendo 3DS, we really want to cover that all in one spot and cover it from all sides. And so we're really taking the right amount of time to make sure that it's right," he explained.
"... It's not going to be browser-based; it's a native application. So again, the preparation needed for that is quite extensive."
The 3DS launches on March 25 in Europe and March 27 in the US. The eShop is expected in May via firmware update.