TOKYO, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Japan's Sony Corp plans to add an Internet phone function to its PlayStation Portable (PSP) game player in cooperation with eBay unit Skype to stir up demand, the Nikkei business daily said on Saturday.
The PSP has trailed Nintendo Co Ltd's DS handheld gear in sales since their launches three years ago as DS's casual and innovative games proved a smashing success in gaming population expanding beyond young males to women and mature users.
By downloading Skype's software, which is expected to become available as early as this month, PSP users can make free Web-based phone calls with other PSP users and the users of PCs equipped with Skype software, the Nikkei said.
The new service is designed for the latest PSP model launched in September, the newspaper said.
Sony Computer Entertainment spokesman Satoshi Fukuoka declined to comment on the report, but said the game unit of the electronics and entertainment conglomerate is studying ways to add value to the PSP.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)