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Dennis "Thresh" Fong (方鏞欽 born 1977) is an entrepreneur and retired pro gamer. Fong has been called "the Michael Jordan of video games", a "Top 20 Entrepreneur Under 35" by Red Herring magazine, 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.
Fong was born in Hong Kong and came to the United States when he was 11 years old.
Fong initially chose the pseudonym "Threshold of Pain", which meant being able to withstand enemy fire and suffering. However, as many games had an eight-character limit, 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". Today, Fong never uses his pseudonym for casual online gaming, as it has been adopted by a large number of imposters.
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.
The highlight of his gaming career was at the Red Annihilation tournament in 1997. He and Tom "Entropy" Kimzey 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.
Using his prize winnings and endorsement money, approximately $100,000 a year over his gaming career, 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. 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.
- Entrepreneur Launches His Third Interactive Computer-Gaming Company. San Jose Mercury News. 01-SEP-03
- Kushner, David (2000-09-05). "The Michael Jordan of gaming". Salon.com. Retrieved 2007-06-25.
- ""Top 20 Entrepreneurs Under 35" in Red Herring Magazine". Red Herring, Inc.
- The Michael Jordan of gaming, Dennis "Thresh" Fong leaves the deathmatch arena to try his hand at building a business. David Kushner. Salon.com
- The Washington Post. December 23, 1999 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPcap/1999-12/23/093r-122399-idx.html
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- Kushner, David (2003). Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created An Empire And Transformed Pop Culture. Random House. 89. ISBN 0-375-50524-5.
- 'Thresh' Rules Online Subculture of Gamers, Mark Leibovich, Washington Post, December 23, 1999; Page A1
- Thresh plays the portal game Marius Meland, Forbes, 11.12.99
- Video Game Champ Creates Web Portal Kelly Zito, San Francisco Chronicle, December 15, 1999
- Additional sources
- Story, Rob (June 25, 1998). "Thresh and blood". Rolling Stone. pp. 87–88. Retrieved April 19, 2014 – via ProQuest. (Subscription required.) (about DeathRow)
- "Thresh: the legend of Quake". Cyberfight.org
- "King of the Gamers" Washington Post.
- "Valley Boys". Business Week cover story.
- "Hail to the King". Penny Arcade
- Thresh's Quake Bible
- Thresh vs Entropy at the final of Red Annihilation 1997 (Quake Demo file)
- Youtube of the above demo with commentary