grand-thef-auto_web.jpgNEW YORK (AP) — Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. says its RockStar North studio is deep in development of the next installment of the wildly popular Grand Theft Auto shooter series.

Grand Theft Auto V will be set in the city of Los Santos — back in its fictional Southern California setting where the blockbuster Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which launched in 2004, took place.

With 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV, the most recent game, Rockstar took players to Liberty City, a fictional take on New York.

Take-Two has not set a launch date for the new title, but has huge hopes: The company says more than 114 million GTA games have been sold worldwide,  but reports its revenue fell 56 percent from a year earlier because of a dearth of big product launches.

How popular might Grand Theft V be? Consider that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the new version of that game released last week, made a record $400 million in sales in the first 24 hours in the U.S. and the UK.

High Stakes in the Video Game Business:

Microsoft Corp. says Xbox 360 revenue grew 7 percent led by Xbox Live service, offset by fewer consoles sold (2.3 million shipped during the latest quarter compared with 2.8 million a year ago), and decreased game revenue compared with strong Halo Reach sales in the same period a year ago.

Wii game console maker Nintendo Co.
reports The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, sold more than a million units, and a price reduction has lifted sales of the 3DS handheld which offers 3D gaming without special glasses, but console sales for the latest six-month period fell from 4.97 million units a year ago to 3.35 million, and software from 65.21 million units to 36.45 million.

Electronic Arts Inc.’s revenue grew with such titles as FIFA 12, Madden NFL 12 and The Sims Social performing well and Battlefield 3 off to a good start, but its quarterly loss expanded from a year ago because of higher costs.

Sony Corp. reports an 8 percent revenue decline in game business because of its PlayStation 3 console price reduction ahead of the holiday season.

Activision Blizzard Inc. latest Call of Duty blockbuster just  on sale, expected to break industry records set by its predecessor a year ago.

Photo: Grand Theft Auto IV