Esports Insider’s ESI Hall of Fame 2023 winners announced

ESI Hall of Fame 2023

Events and media company Esports Insider has named James Yang, Kevin Hoang, Meg Kay and Debora Imanuella as the official Class of 2023 and the latest inductees into the ESI Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Busan, South Korea.

The annual ESI Hall of Fame awards ceremony honours and recognises individuals for their outstanding contributions to the development of the esports industry over its long and storied history.

Held at the BEXCO convention centre on November 27th, the event marked the first time the awards ceremony was held in the APAC region.

The ESI Hall of Fame awards ceremony took place as part of the World Esports Summit in Busan, South Korea, in collaboration with headline partner International Esports Federation (IESF). The IESF-run World Esports Summit gathers esports leaders, brands, officials and other stakeholders to discuss industry topics and challenges. 

The Hall of Fame 2023 ceremony saw four awards presented. These included:

  • Hall of Famer – Presented to an individual for their outstanding contribution towards the development and growth of the esports industry.
  • Rising Industry Star – Recognises the impact and achievement of an individual newer to the space, but who is already making a difference.
  • Community Champion – Celebrates an individual who is using esports to make a positive social impact within local communities.
  • Youth Champion – Presented to an individual who is inspiring the next generation, and working with under 18’s using esports, and that has made a positive, provable contribution in doing so.
James Yang won the ESI Hall of Famer 2023 award at the ceremony in Busan, South Korea

James Yang, Director of Esports (IEG Global) at Tencent, was named the ESI Hall of Famer for 2023. Yang has had an undeniable impact on the mobile esports industry, working for a range of game publishers, including Tencent where he elevated PUBG Mobile Esports into a global powerhouse. He boasts an impressive track record at various prominent global gaming companies, and a second-to-none contribution to esports at a strategic level.

Meanwhile, Meg Kay, Communications Coordinator at The Story Mob, was awarded Rising Industry Star for quickly establishing herself as a name to watch within the industry. Starting out as an esports journalist with stints at Dexerto and Dot Esports, Kay is a storyteller that has honed her craft at communications agency The Story Mob, working with some of the biggest clients in the esports and gaming space.

Kevin Hoang, Co-founder and CEO of AcadArena, won the Youth Champion award for his unwavering dedication to nurturing talent in esports. With a background in university esports in North America, and experience managing Twitch’s student space, Hoang founded AcadArena in 2021, a groundbreaking initiative empowering student gamers and educators in Southeast Asia, starting in the Philippines.

Finally, Debora Imanuella, Co-founder of Luna Nera, won the Community Champion award for her prominent role as a dedicated advocate for women in gaming and esports in the Indonesian esports scene. Having successfully united female leaders and paved the way for fresh opportunities for women, Imanuella’s contributions have solidified her position as a genuine trailblazer in the industry and an unwavering champion for community inclusivity.

ESI Hall of Fame Class of 2023 team photo
ESI Hall of Fame 2023 winners, alongside ESI staff. Pictured left-right: Sam Cooke, Meg Kay, James Yang, Jack Fenton, Kevin Hoang, Debora Imanuella, Laura Byrne

The inductees join the ranks of an exclusive list of venerated industry personnel who’ve been inducted into the ESI Hall of Fame since its inaugural edition in 2018.

To date, the ESI Hall of Fame features 14 inductees including Complexity Gaming Founder & CEO Jason Lake, observer and Raidiant founder Heather ‘sapphiRe’ Garozzo, ESL FACEIT Group CSO Mike Sepso, RTS’ VP of Talent Management Sue ‘Smix’ Lee, amongst others. It has taken place in London, Los Angeles, online, and now in Busan. 

Winners of the ESI Hall of Fame awards are chosen by Esports Insider based on internal discussions and nominations from industry professionals. Candidates are selected for their contribution to the development of the esports industry and the difference their work has made in the sector.

All inductees have played a prominent role in and shown a commitment to esports, having pushed the industry forward for the good of players, organisations and spectators around the world.

Esports Insider