Nintendo confirmed that players with both a Wii U and a 3DS will use a single connected account to buy games from both platforms online. That unified system, however, may not be the same system 3DS-owners are using now.

"A unified account system will be implemented later this year with the launch of the Wii U," said Nintendo customer representative David Marshall. "Eventually this same account system will be made compatible with Nintendo 3DS systems."

North American players will be able to transfer content between devices even if the new system doesn't resemble the current e-shop. That's an important factor for 3DS players who may make the switch to buying 3DS games digitally before the Wii U launches later this year. Many of the 3DS' most high-profile retail releases for the second half of 2012 will be available directly through the E-Shop, in addition to traditional retailers.

The distinction is, unfortunately, less important for players outside of the US and Canada. As it turns out, Nintendo's upcoming push to enhance digital distribution won't be available elsewhere. 

"Of course, you asked this question because of the upcoming launch of New Super Mario Bros. 2 in retail and digital formats. What you need to know is that the digital format will only be available in the United States and Canada."

The Wii U is expected to launch by the end of 2012.

[Via Nintendo World Report]