TOKYO Japanese electronics maker Panasonic Corp is developing a handheld game player in a bid to return to the video game market after a hiatus of more than a decade, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The game project, called "Jungle," is being worked on by its North American operations with an eye on the U.S. game market, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because details of the project have not been made public.
The player would pit Panasonic against established gaming giants such as Microsoft Corp, Nintendo Co Ltd and Sony Corp, as well as a growing number of gaming services for smartphones and tablet-style computers.
U.S. technology blog TechCrunch reported on the project earlier this week. It said Panasonic, which last launched a game console in 1994, was set to return to the fray with a portable game player aimed at online gamers.
Panasonic's new product consists of a clamshell-style portable console with a display on one side and a keyboard and touch pad on the other, the TechCrunch report said.
Panasonic has set up a new subsidiary, Panasonic Cloud Entertainment, to handle the game project, which will also involve video content creation, TechCrunch said.
A spokesman for Panasonic confirmed that the company had a project called Jungle, but would not comment on its purpose.
(Reporting by Reiji Murai and Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Nathan Layne)