Panasonic says has dropped game development project

TOKYO Tue Mar 1, 2011 3:54am EST

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Consumer electronics giant Panasonic Corp said on Tuesday it had dropped development of a handheld online gaming device that had been tentatively named "Jungle."

News of the project had raised eyebrows when it emerged last October.

Panasonic withdrew from the games industry more than a decade ago and most analysts saw it having little chance of competing against established players like Microsoft Corp, Nintendo Co Ltd and Sony Corp.

The project also appeared to be at odds with President Fumio Ohtsubo's strategy of pursuing growth in areas like environmental technology and healthcare.

"Panasonic decided to suspend further development due to changes in the market and in our own strategic direction," the company said in a statement.

Panasonic had set up a new U.S. subsidiary, Panasonic Cloud Entertainment, to handle the game project, technology blog TechCrunch said last year.

(Reporting by Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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