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HQ Trivia: A three month old app that is a new rage on iOS and Android

HQ Trivia, as the name suggests, is an app that turns the quiz experience seen on TV shows like Jeopardy! and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (its Indian adaptation Kaun Banega Crorepati) into a live mobile experience sans studio audience.

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When more than a million people log in to an app at a fixed time then it means there is a lot going with that app in terms of engagement. No, we are not talking about Facebook or Snapchat but a new app called HQ Trivia. The most interesting part is that the app is not even widely available on Android, which controls over 70 percent of mobile operating system market share worldwide.

What is HQ Trivia?

HQ Trivia, as the name suggests, is an app that turns the quiz experience seen on TV shows like Jeopardy! and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (its Indian adaptation Kaun Banega Crorepati) into a live mobile experience sans studio audience. The quiz goes live every day twice at 3PM EST (or 1.30AM IST) and 9PM EST (or 7.30AM IST), a host walks its audience through 12 multiple choice questions that range from easy to extremely difficult on different categories and players get 10 seconds to answer them. Those who answer all the 12 questions right get to take the final prize money. In case there are multiple winners, the app splits the prize money across them.

HQ was founded by Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, the team behind Vine video app which turned 6-second video into a phenomena in the west. The app launched in June 2012 and became so popular that Twitter acquired it in October of the same year. The app was eventually killed last year but it gave rise to many live streaming platforms including Meerkat and Periscope.

HQ Trivia builds on that same phenomenon but focuses on live audience as opposed to having viewers later. The app was launched as an exclusive for iOS in October last year and its popularity has only soared since then. The app has grown from few thousand live players to an average of 500K to 750K players everyday. According to App Annie, HQ Trivia was the most popular game on iOS in the US during the week ending January 4 and the 17th most popular app overall in the App store.

On New Year’s Eve, HQ gave away $18,000 in prize money and at 7.30AM IST on January 8, the app hit 1 million live players and was giving away $10,000 in prize money. What makes the game really difficult is that if you get an answer wrong then you are kicked out of the game. However, HQ Trivia players can stay in the game by asking their friends to sign up with their referral code and get a life when they play a game for the first time. The comment section sometimes gets bombarded with such referral code just before the game starts.

What works for HQ Trivia

The biggest USP of HQ Trivia seems to be the way it captures audience. It does not just rely on its trivia question, it also has smart hosts who stand in front of a technicolor wall and make that 10 seconds time to answer the question engaging with quick jokes and their own thoughts.

Scott Rogowsky, a relatively unknown comedian is the star host, who often calls himself as Quizzie McGuire and Quiz Daddy. Rogowsky refers to the players as HQties and is so popular that the players don’t even want him to take holiday break. Scott is on leave till January 13 and the comment section is filled with “Bring Scott Back” during the last few games.

The show is also hosted by Sharon Carpenter and Sarah Pribis at times.

Does it have any flaw?

Well it has too many flaws since its just new and seems to be handled by only a handful of people. The most common problem is that the app fails to register the answer and it freezes just too often. The app also seems to be data intensive with it failing to load the game too often in patchy network situation. If you are a Mumbaikar then just don’t plan to play this game in a local train while on the move. It just doesn’t work even with Reliance Jio.

Questions ahead?

HQ Trivia is built around engagement as a strategy and that is also its biggest weakness. While the app generally has over 500K players at the start of the game, the numbers drop to few hundreds as the game progress. The moment a player loses the game, the app presents option to continue watching and it seems its players are mostly interested in the cash money and don’t plan to hang around any longer. It is also not clear whether its developers have enough cash or funding to sustain especially when it becomes available easily on Android and reaches the hands of several billion people around the world.

  • Published Date: January 11, 2018 5:22 PM IST