MAKUHARI: Sony Corp has yet to secure the next generation of Capcom's popular Monster Hunter game for its new handheld games device, company executives said on Thursday, after the developer said it would offer the game on a rival gadget.

The Monster Hunter franchise was a major driver behind the popularity of Sony's prior-generation handheld games device, the PlayStation Portable, in the Japanese market. Its loss could affect domestic sales of the new PlayStation Vita, which starts its global rollout in Japan on Dec. 17.

Capcom's share price fell on Tuesday after it announced that the next version in the series, Monster Hunter 4, would be offered on Nintendo's 3DS handheld, which is not seen as a likely hit with hardcore gamers. No announcement has been made about offering the new game on the PS Vita.

"I don't know. You will have to ask Capcom," Hiroshi Kawano, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, told Reuters when asked about the game.

But Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, in a separate interview did not rule out the possibility the PS Vita might still grab its own Monster Hunter.

"Most large game publishers operate on a multiplatform basis," he told Reuters.