Japan gaming nods add Amateur Division

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TOKYO -- In a bid to help gaming companies tap an ever younger market, Japan's biggest gaming awards will introduce a new category when it hands out its prizes next month.

The 2007 Japan Game Awards' new Amateur Division represents an amalgamation of the Indies Division and the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Assn.'s Student Game Awards, according to event organizers.

While the major players in the computer entertainment software business battle it out for the game of the year title, the CESA is hoping to place a special emphasis on promoting future generations of game developers.

"We are hoping to encourage students who are interested in creating games, young people in general and those who are already atending or are considering joining schools where they learn to develop such entertainment software," said Yuka Igarashi, a spokeswoman for the awards.

Some 265 titles will be competing across all the divisions, she said. In addition to the Game of the Year competition and the Amateur Division, the Future Division will select the best-looking pre-release games that will be showcased at the Tokyo Game Show 2007.

The winners will be announced over the duration of the event, which opens Sept. 20 at the Makuhari Messe convention center. The four-day games bonanza -- now marking its 11th year -- concludes Sept. 23.
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