You may not have heard of HQ Trivia, but it’s well on its way to becoming the next big app craze, averaging over 200,000 players in recent games.
So, what is HQ Trivia and why are hundreds of thousands of people tuning in to watch a mobile game show?
HQ Trivia is the latest app from Vine co-founders Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll. Prior to developing HQ Trivia, Yusupov and Kroll sold Vine to Twitter. They would leave Twitter in 2015 and move on to developing video apps. Yusupov and Kroll’s first app after Vine was Hype, which was similar to Periscope and is still available. Hype’s main appeal was that it enabled users to add pictures and music to their broadcasts. However, Tech Crunch reports audience enthusiasm waned and the app lost users.
Instead of calling it a day, The New York Times reports that Yusupov and Kroll came up with the idea to take their passion for Jeopardy! and create a live interactive game show anyone can participate in. The end result was HQ Trivia.
What is HQ Trivia?
The app, which is currently only available on iPhones and iPads, broadcasts a 15-minute quiz show, which is hosted by New York comedian Scott Rogowsky, to logged-in users twice a day at 3 pm and 9 pm ET on weekdays and once a day during the weekend at 9 pm.
Players tune in at those times to compete in a show that is a hybrid of Who Want’s to Be a Millionaire? and 1 vs 100. Fans of quiz shows might find this description familiar because NBC attempted to create its own viral trivia sensation with the Million Second Quiz, which quickly lost audiences interest.
In order to play, you have to download the HQ Trivia app and login before the live game starts. Once the game starts new players are not allowed to join, so players who are late have to wait until the next game.
In HQ Trivia’s case, players are presented with questions of progressively increasing difficulty and three possible answers. They have 10 seconds to answer each question. If a player answers incorrectly, that person is eliminated.
What can you win?
If a player answers all 12 questions correctly, they will split that game’s grand prize with others who achieved the same feat. Prize money is paid out via PayPal. While the amount of money up for grabs varies, HQ Trivia held 2 games on Sunday night; each game gave away $10,000, which is the app’s largest prize ever.
2 games, 400,000 plus players/game, 95 total winners, $20,000 given out, 1 helluva night. Thanks for making history with me #HQties @hqtrivia
— Scott Rogowsky (@ScottRogowsky) December 11, 2017
While HQ Trivia is only available in the Apple app store for now, HQ Trivia tweeted and then confirmed that Android users will be getting their own version of the app just in time for the holidays.
Hey world, we hear you also have Android phones? HQ has a nice little stocking stuffer coming your way… pic.twitter.com/RwY6Qpkk9e
— HQ Trivia (@hqtrivia) December 5, 2017
Right now, The New York Times reports that HQ Trivia has no source of income other than investment capital, which is completely unsustainable. While Yusupov and Kroll say they are focusing on growing the app’s audience and will ad a source of ad revenue later, players have already gotten used to a game where they can win real money that has no ads.
Another reason HQ Trivia’s future doesn’t look as bright as it should is that many players are already getting fed up with the game, not only does it glitch and lag, but the game is also easy to cheat. With the help of Google, The Verge’s Alex Hazlett and other players have reported that they’ve been able to strategically use an Android phone to find the answers to the questions before time is up.
Players may also get fed up with the payment system. Users, such as Lizzie Plaugic, are already writing think pieces about how the big money games are making the game less fun. HQ Trivia only allows players to collect their winnings once they hit 20 dollars. While big money games let players win more than that, those are typically only offered during the weekend. Considering that up to this point most players have won less than 15 dollars at a time and payouts under 3 dollars were not unheard off, it can take a while for a player to earn enough money for redemption. While that sounds like it would keep people coming back, many players will quit with money in their account if they can’t duplicate their win multiple times in a short period of time. The game may not be unwinnable, but it’s highly unlikely a player will legitimately win over and over again.
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