Dennis Fong

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Thresh (foreground) competes in a video game competition for a vendor at Comdex in 1997. This was probably at the AMD booth.

Dennis "Thresh" Fong (方鏞欽 born 1977) is an entrepreneur and retired pro gamer.[1] Fong has been called "the Michael Jordan of video games",[2] a "Top 20 Entrepreneur Under 35" by Red Herring magazine,[3] and is best known for: co-founding Xfire, an instant messenger and social networking site for gamers which was acquired by Viacom for US$102 million in April 2006; co-founding Lithium, a leading Social CRM company with clients such as AT&T and Barnes & Noble; and winning John Carmack's Ferrari 328 in a 1997 Quake tournament.

Biography[edit]

Fong was born in Hong Kong and came to the United States when he was 11 years old.[4]

Fong initially chose the pseudonym "Threshold of Pain", which meant being able to withstand enemy fire and suffering. However, many games of the time had an eight-character limit, and he was not satisfied with '"Threshol". Ending up he went with "Thresh" and liked the meaning of the word, which is "to separate the grain or seeds from a cereal plant or the like by some mechanical means as by beating with a flail", or which means "to strike repeatedly". Today, Fong never uses his pseudonym for casual online gaming, as it has been adopted by a large number of imposters[citation needed].[5][6]

In games, Fong is known for his reflexes, intuition, and tactics. People coined the term "Thresh ESP" to describe his unnatural knack for knowing exactly what his opponents were doing. For instance, he would not necessarily pick the most popular or strongest characters, but rather lesser known ones from which he would practice how to defeat the popular ones. In 1 on 1 deathmatch, he made it priority to understand the level and "control" vital items (using timed runs to repeatedly hoard it from opponents) such as the rocket launcher and armors in Quake.[7][8]

Thresh in the Ferrari he won and John Carmack (second place finisher Tom "Entropy" Kizmey is in the background above Thresh.)

The highlight of his gaming career was at the Red Annihilation tournament in 1997. He and Tom "Entropy" Kizmey emerged from a crowded field to face off in the Quake level E1M2 "Castle of the Damned", where Fong, playing as "Thresh", defeated "Entropy" 14:−1. Fong repeatedly defended the valuable yellow armor, and used the blast force and slash damage of rockets to disorient/kill Kizmey.[9][1]

Using his prize winnings and endorsement money, approximately $100,000 a year over his gaming career,[10] Fong and his brother Lyle started GX Media, the parent company of Gamers.com, FiringSquad, and Lithium Technologies. Fong was the CEO of the company, and Lyle was the Chief technical officer; together they grew the company to 100 employees.

In 1999, GX Media raised over US$11 million from CMGI and built gamers.com, a popular web portal.[11][12] Fong's Ferrari was parked in the lobby of the GX Media offices. In 2001, Gamers.com was acquired by Ziff-Davis.

While running GX Media, Fong was also editor-in-chief at the video gaming site FiringSquad, wrote a monthly column in the popular PC Gamer magazine, and co-authored the official Quake II strategy guide.

GX Media spun off Lithium Technologies, a leading Social CRM platform provider that counts AT&T, PlayStation, Verizon, Comcast, and Best Buy as some of its customers. The company has raised over $40 million from Benchmark Capital, Emergence Capital, Shasta Ventures, DAG Ventures, and Tenaya Capital.

Fong went on to co-found Xfire, an IM designed for gamers, that was acquired by Viacom in 2006.

In 2007, Fong founded Raptr, a social network and related software client for gamers. The company has raised over $12 million in financing from Accel Partners.

Fong currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Entrepreneur Launches His Third Interactive Computer-Gaming Company. San Jose Mercury News. 01-SEP-03
  2. ^ Kushner, David (2000-09-05). "The Michael Jordan of gaming". Salon.com. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  3. ^ ""Top 20 Entrepreneurs Under 35" in Red Herring Magazine". Red Herring, Inc. 
  4. ^ The Michael Jordan of gaming, Dennis "Thresh" Fong leaves the deathmatch arena to try his hand at building a business. David Kushner. Salon.com
  5. ^ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/thresh
  6. ^ http://www.answers.com/topic/threshing
  7. ^ The Washington Post. December 23, 1999 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPcap/1999-12/23/093r-122399-idx.html |url= missing title (help). 
  8. ^ http://www.quaketerminus.com/quakebible/1on1-strat.htm
  9. ^ Kushner, David (2003). Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created An Empire And Transformed Pop Culture. Random House. 89. ISBN 0-375-50524-5. 
  10. ^ 'Thresh' Rules Online Subculture of Gamers, Mark Leibovich, Washington Post, December 23, 1999; Page A1
  11. ^ Thresh plays the portal game Marius Meland, Forbes, 11.12.99
  12. ^ Video Game Champ Creates Web Portal Kelly Zito, San Francisco Chronicle, December 15, 1999
Additional sources

External links[edit]