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Meet Dennis Fong, the world’s first pro gamer
Today, the best gamers on games such as League of Legends expect to walk away with million-dollar prizes – but it wasn’t always that way. One gamer, Dennis Fong, changed all that – when he took up a challenge laid down by Quake creator John Carmack, and walked away with the keys to Carmack’s Ferrari.
Fong remembers that he could see the car in the monitor screen as he played, “It hit me that I could win the car – that I was going to win it.”
Fong’s win came at the time when internet video was – just – making gaming a spectator sport. You can still see some of his wins on YouTube now, such as his annihilation of early rival Billox under his pro gaming moniker ‘Thresh’, thoughtfully posted below in grainy, game-o-vision. You get the idea anyway. He was quite good at Quake
Fong now owns Raptr, a gaming network with 18 million members, “Raptr was created to really make gaming easier for people. There are so many different tools we all use for chatting, VOIP, livestreaming, etc and there was a need to bring that all together into one app. The same goes for your respective friends lists, which are unfortunately fragmented across different platforms; Raptr unifies all of them into one buddy list.”
“One of the more recent things that has surprised me is the shift back to PC gaming. We’ve seen the hype of Facebook and mobile games but the online PC gaming industry continues to be as strong as ever.”
Unlike in Fong’s heyday, there’s big money to be made from ‘esports’ these days. If you fancy a career change (bear in mind that conventional wisdom says you’ll need to be under-25 to stand a chance) then check out just how much today’s pro gamers are taking home for their efforts in esportsearnings.com’s top 100 list. It’s worth noting those ‘% of total’ figures to spot a potential gap in the market…