||This article possibly contains original research. (March 2008)|
Thresh (foreground) at a video game competition for a vendor at Comdex in 1997
|Date of birth||March 11, 1977|
|Hometown||Los Altos, California|
|Career prize money||~US$16,000.00|
Dennis "Thresh" Fong (Chinese: 方鏞欽) (born March 11, 1977) is an American entrepreneur and retired professional gamer. He is a co-founder of Xfire, an instant messenger and social networking site for gamers which was acquired by Viacom for US$102 million in April 2006. He also co-founded Lithium Technologies, a leading Social CRM company with clients such as AT&T and Barnes & Noble. In his playing career his highest profile victory came in 1997 at the Red Annihilation Quake tournament, where he placed first and won id Software CEO John D. Carmack's Ferrari 328. Thresh is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the first professional gamer.
Fong began playing Doom at the age of 16 in 1993. He initially chose the pseudonym Threshold of Pain, which referred to the ability to withstand enemy fire and suffering. However, as many games had an eight-character ID limit, he went with "Thresh" and liked the word's meaning of "to strike repeatedly". Today, Fong never uses his pseudonym for casual online gaming, as it has been adopted by a large number of imposters.
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.
At the peak of his career, he earned approximately $100,000 a year from prize money and endorsements.
Fong and his brother Lyle started GX Media,[when?] the parent company of Gamers.com, FiringSquad, and Lithium Technologies. Fong was the CEO of the company, and Lyle was the Chief technical officer. The company grew up 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.[disambiguation needed] 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.[dubious ]
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 Instant messaging client designed for online gaming, 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.
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 with 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 them from opponents, such as the rocket launcher and armor in Quake.
Fong was born in Hong Kong on March 11, 1977. He and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 11-years-old and he grew up in Los Altos, California. His interests include playing roller hockey. Fong has one brother, Lyle, with whom he co-founded GX Media. Thresh attended De Anza College in Cupertino, California for a year in 1996–1997 before dropping out to focus on gaming. He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Joseph, Lawrence E. (December 31, 1996). "Master Blaster=". The Item. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- Dunn, Ashley. "Virtual Monsters Vanquished, Net Warriors Twitch Each Other". The New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- Kushner, David (2003). Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created An Empire And Transformed Pop Culture. Random House. 89. ISBN 0-375-50524-5.
- Leibovich, Mark (December 23, 1999). "King of the Gamers work=The Washington Post".
- 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
- Pitco, Belinda (March 12, 2000). "It's all a game for Dennis `Thresh' Fong". San Francisco Business Journal. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
- 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.
- Rich, Mari (August 2012). Current Biography (Vol. 73 Issue 8 ed.): 47. Missing or empty
- 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