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MySpace kicks off contest for Asian game developers

Called "TheGame08," the competition is a way for the News Corp.-owned social site to draw in quality games to its platform and bolster its international cred.

The game development platform du jour might be the iPhone 2.0 software, but News Corp.'s MySpace hopes to make a splash with a new contest in its Asian market: TheGame08, which pits developers against one another in an attempt to create a hit social game that runs on MySpace's platform. It all leads up to the legendary Tokyo Game Show this October.

Starting Thursday, developers who are at least 18 years old and legal residents of either China, Japan, Korea, or India can enter the contest in groups of no more than three; regional semi-finalists from each country, who win trips to the Tokyo Game Show, will be chosen by a panel of judges that includes MySpace President Tom Anderson, IGN executive Peer Schneider, and Sherpalo Ventures' Sandeep Murthy. The final winner will be announced on October 9 at the gaming expo.

"MySpace is defining the future of online casual gaming by providing a global platform to showcase the best and the brightest that this incredible developer community has to offer," Steve Pearman, senior vice president of product and strategy at MySpace, said in a statement. "I am looking forward to the unique and engaging applications that this contest will inspire."

The winning application, which will be translated into English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, will earn special promotion from MySpace (and there are some cash prizes involved, too). And for MySpace, it's a way to get some publicity for quality applications. Because its platform is OpenSocial-compatible, there have been few breakout apps there that aren't available elsewhere. A high-profile original could provide some decent buzz.