Game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software gave a boost to Sony's fledgling handheld gaming effort Monday with the announcement that it will make a portable game based on its smash "Grand Theft Auto" franchise.
Take-Two said a GTA game for the PlayStation Portable would be ready around the time the new Sony device is launched in North America and Europe, tentatively set for late March.
"Grand Theft Auto" is the biggest selling game franchise for the PlayStation 2, Sony's living room console, with "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" selling more than 12 million units worldwide and the new "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" expected to surpass that mark.
Sony announced the PlayStation Portable two years ago in a high-stakes bid to grab a piece of the handheld game market long dominated by Nintendo, which is looking to expand the market with its new DS device.
Sony has pitched the PSP as the "Walkman of the 21st century" that will "elevate portable entertainment out of the handheld gaming ghetto," according to Kaz Hirai, president of Sony Computer Entertainment America. Besides playing games, the PSP is intended to be a multimedia device that can be used for listening to music and watching movies.
Sony debuted the device last month in Japan, where a tiny inventory of units and a slim lineup of games didn't dampen consumer interest.
Sony is gearing up for a bigger worldwide launch with support from many more game makers. Besides the "Grand Theft Auto" support, leading game publisher Electronic Arts announced late last week that it would have six PSP titles ready for the device's North American launch, including a handheld version of the hit PS2 racing game "Need for Speed Underground."