According to a report by Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun, as partially translated by consumer website GameSpot, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is planning to create a major game awards ceremony for the country’s video games industry.
After several years of decline, the Japanese games market is not experiencing , with a recent CESA report noting that combined hardware and software sales in Japan in 2005 increased by 13.9 percent to ¥496.5 ($4.3bn), primarily led by the Nintendo DS format.
However, according to the translated report
from The Yomiuri Shimbun, there is concern within Japan that the country’s developers have lost ground to Western studios in the interim, as well as facing increasing competition, particularly in the online arena from South Korean companies.
The METI’s new five year plan to promote Japan’s domestic industry is centered around a new international games award event, something that, despite numerous national awards in various countries, the industry has always lacked. Titles and companies from around the world will be considered by a panel of judges from various hardware and software manufacturers and the games press.
The only award so far announced is the Minister’s Award, assumed to be presented, if not judged, by METI minister Toshihiro Nikai. The date of the first awards ceremony has not yet been announced, but is presumed to be next year.
It is unclear how these awards will interact with the recently renamed
Japan Game Awards, which will be held on the main stage of the upcoming Tokyo Game Show next month by game trade organization CESA, and is obviously intended to be the definitive award show for the Japanese market alone.
: 08/25/06, 1.58pm PST - removed comparative references to 'Academy Awards' under legal request from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.]