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Thresh (foreground) at a video game competition for a vendor at Comdex in 1997
|Born||March 11, 1977|
|Hometown||Los Altos, California|
|League||Professional Gamers League
Cyberathlete Professional League
|Career prize money||~US$16,000.00|
Dennis "Thresh" Fong (traditional Chinese: 方鏞欽; simplified Chinese: 方镛钦; pinyin: Fong Yong Qin; Jyutping: fong1 yung4 jam1) (born March 11, 1977) is an American businessperson, entrepreneur, and retired professional player of the first-person shooter video games Quake and Doom. 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 customer relationship management (CRM) company. 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. Fong 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".
Fong attended the Microsoft sponsored Doom tournament Judgement Day 1995 in Seattle. Thresh defeated Ted "Merlock" Peterson to finish first among 24 competitors from across the US and United Kingdom.
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 Thresh defeated Entropy 14−1.
At the peak of his gaming career in the middle to late 1990s, he earned approximately $100,000 a year from prize money and endorsements. He retired in 1997 to focus on his business ventures.
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. 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 with Jonathan Mendoza and Kenn Spear Hwang.
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. However he is not considered exceptionally accurate at aiming. 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 also lived in Beijing for a while. His parents David and Lena Fong were educated in America and are US citizens. 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 two younger brothers, Lyle and Bryant. Lyle helped him 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.
- First person to be a professional video gamer
- Joseph, Lawrence E. (December 31, 1996). "Master Blaster". The Item. 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". 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.
- Mendoza, Jonathan; Fong, Dennis "Thresh"; Hwang, Kenn "Spear" (November 1997). Official Quake II: Strategies & Secrets. Sybex Inc.
- 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.
- "Dennis Fong". Bloomberg. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
- Shields, Duncan. 'Reflections' with Thresh. (Interview).
- Rich, Mari (August 2012). "Dennis Fong". Current Biography (Vol. 73 Issue 8 ed.): 47.
- 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.