‘HQ Trivia’ shuts down after six-figure peak
What happened to the late-2010s interactive quiz app favorite? “HQ Trivia” called time on Feb. 14 after a company takeover fell through.
Social multiple-choice quiz app “HQ Trivia” has closed down over funding issues almost two years after making headlines for a $400,000 jackpot.
Rewind to March 2018 and, following big money crossovers with Nike and the Academy Awards, a sponsorship related to the Steven Spielberg movie “Ready Player One” had players competing for $250,000.
A live host guest spot for “Rampage” actor Dwayne Johnson in April brought a $300,000 prize pot. Then, via a June 2018 promotion for the NBA Finals, the pot record rose to a new high of $400,000.
That same year, the HQ network had begun expanding through a sequence of more focused apps: “HQ Sports”, “HQ Words”, “HQ After Dark”, “HQ Tunes” and photo-focused “HQX”.
Yet cheats and technical bugs marred the in-app experience for players, clones popped up to provide alternatives and, internally, the “HQ Trivia” studio faced a series of challenges.
One of its co-founders died in December 2018, and then more than half of the studio’s employees asked for remaining co-founder and replacement CEO, Rus Yusupov, to be removed in February 2019.
Original live host Scott Rogowsky left in April over a non-compete disagreement, and lay-offs followed in July 2019.
“With HQ we showed the world the future of TV,” Yusupov wrote on Twitter on Feb. 14. “We didn’t get to where we hoped but we did stretch the world’s imagination for what’s possible on our smartphones.”
“Thanks to everyone who helped build this and thanks for playing,” he concluded.
Even if “HQ Trivia” is gone, something of its spirit may live on through a new official “Tetris” app. It launched in January 2020 with a 100-person head-to-head mode.
During pre-release tests in New Zealand, it also contained a Primetime Mode which, like “HQ Trivia”, began at a set time and featured a live presenter.
Primetime Mode was not included when the new “Tetris” rolled out in January, nor referenced in accompanying public statements, but its studio said that the launch version was “just the foundation of an incredible ‘Tetris’ app experience”. JB
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