Visionaries and Legends

This year, Nite to Unite will honor two inspiring individuals, Sid Meier and Jeromy Adams. Sid Meier is a legendary video game industry luminary and creator of the game Civilization, which served as the first inspiration for many young game developers and STEM students including tech leaders like Mark Zuckerberg. Jeromy Adams is the visionary founder of Extra Life – an extraordinary organization that coordinates 24–hour video game marathons to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  

ESA Foundation scholarship winners will also be celebrated. These are the video game makers of tomorrow – who benefit directly from the evening’s proceeds.

Sid Meier – Champion Award

Often regarded as “The Godfather of Computer Gaming,” Sid Meier is a Co-Founder and Director of Creative Development at Firaxis Games, the development studio responsible for delivering some of the world’s most heralded video games.

A thirty-plus-year industry veteran, Sid started his legendary career as a founding partner of MicroProse Software in 1982, and created one of the very first combat flight simulators, F-15 Strike Eagle, a title that sold well over one million units worldwide. He continued to create thought-provoking, innovative titles such as Silent Service, a submarine simulation and the breakthrough Pirates!, a unique blend of historical simulation, arcade action, strategy, and role-playing. By introducing strategy into flight simulation with F-19 Stealth Fighter, he created one of the most popular flight simulators ever. Over the last three decades, he has played an influential role in establishing strategy games as a cornerstone of video gaming.  

This past October, Civilization VI was released marking the 25th Anniversary of one of the most beloved strategy franchises of all-time. Sid has been honored with the industry’s top awards including in 1999, being the second person ever to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Science's "Hall of Fame" for Lifetime Achievement. In 2002, Sid was also honored with an induction into the Computer Museum of America's Hall of Fame, located in San Diego, CA.

Jeromy Adams – Visionary Award

The inspiration for Extra Life came to Jeromy Adams in 2008 because of a little girl named Victoria (Tori) Enmon, who was battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. During the time of her treatment, she became a beacon of hope for the other children at the Texas Children’s Hospital. That’s where she met Jeromy Adams - a radio DJ at the time - while he was hosting a radiothon fundraiser for the hospital. This meeting between the two grew into a true friendship over the time of her treatment. Sadly, Tori’s health began to decline after her leukemia relapsed. Adams reached out to the video game industry asking for game donations to help brighten Tori’s spirits, and they responded in droves.

In January of 2008, Tori passed away. Adams and the community responsible for their generosity to Tori decided to honor her loss by continuing their efforts by creating Extra Life. Extra Life was founded that year as a full-day gaming event where participants from all over the world play games and raise money to help hospitals like the one where Tori was treated. Since they started, Extra Life has had more than 200,000 gamers participate from 42 countries on all continents and well over a quarter of a million donors who have collectively raised just over $22 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Past Honorees

For the past 18 years, the Entertainment Software Association and the ESA Foundation have had the pleasure of bringing members of the computer and video game community together to celebrate our industry and raise funds to support the next generation of computer and video game professionals.

An important part of this celebration, since the first event took place, has been honoring an individual whose work has made a positive impact on the industry with the Champion Award. ESA Foundation’s Visionary Award, which was introduced last year, recognizes an organization or individual who is leveraging entertainment software to inspire and support kids. The inaugural recipient of the Visionary Award was John Graham, who founded Humble Bundle – a digital video game storefront whose sales directly benefit charitable organizations.

These honorees exemplify the outstanding applications of entertainment software. We are proud to celebrate the tremendous work being done to improve our own industry and to achieve meaningful social impact. 

Isao Okawa   Segway Enterprises,         2001 Honoree         

Isao Okawa
Segway Enterprises,         2001 Honoree     


Gabe Newell   Valve Corporation,                   2012 Honoree

Gabe Newell
Valve Corporation,                 2012 Honoree

Kaz Hirai,   Sony Corporation,           2013 Honoree

Kaz Hirai,
Sony Corporation,           2013 Honoree

2017 Sid Meier, Director of Creative Development at Firaxis Games; Jeromy Adams, Founder of Extra Life

2016 Peter Moore, Electronic Arts, Vice President and Chief Competition Officer

2016 John Graham, Humble Bundle, Co-Founder

2013 Kaz Hirai, Sony Corporation, President and CEO

2012 Gabe Newell, Valve Corporation, Co-Founder

2011 Mike Morhaime, Blizzard Entertainment, President and Co-Founder

2010 Robbie Bach, Xbox, Former President, Entertainment and Devices Division

2009 Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft, CEO

2008 Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo, Creative Fellow 

2007 Ken Kutaragi, Sony Corporation, Chairman and CEO

2006 Dan DeMatteo, GameStop, Former CEO and Co-Founder

2005 George Lucas, Lucasfilm/Industrial Light & Magic, Filmmaker

2004 Bing Gordon, Electronic Arts, Former Chief Creative Officer

2003 Jeff Griffiths, Electronic Boutique, President and CEO

2002 Will Wright, Electronic Arts, Game Designer, The Sims

2001 Isao Okawa, Sega Enterprises, Former Chairman

2000 Howard Lincoln, Nintendo, Former Chairman

1999 Michael Goldstein, Toys 'R Us', President and Chief Executive