Twice a day, my afternoon and evening are punctuated by an eagerly awaited push notification inviting me to join a growing crowd of fans all over the world playing HQ Trivia, a modern take on the classic TV game show. The brief, fifteen minute games usually end for me with a “savage question” that eliminates my chance of winning a growing cash prize, but leaves me excited to try again tomorrow. The thrill of the game is no accident; it’s all part of the app’s clever design.
9to5Mac asked Rus Yusupov, co-founder of HQ Trivia and the former social network Vine, just what makes the new game so captivating.
The concept of HQ Trivia is simple: answer twelve, multiple choice questions correctly and you win a real cash prize, split between anyone surviving all twelve rounds. Questions have a ten second time limit, and you can earn extra lives that keep you in the game when people sign up for the app using your unique referral code. (Shameless plug: my referral code is “Steeber.”)
The game has gone from attracting just a few thousand players per game in mid-October, to well over 200,000 during recent evening games. The momentum doesn’t show signs of slowing.
“In a time where we’ve grown accustomed to DVRing TV shows, streaming on-demand and picking up mobile games wherever, whenever, the concept of a live, mobile trivia game is both captivating and nostalgic,” said HQ Trivia’s Rus Yusupov. Both Yusupov and Colin Kroll, also building HQ Trivia, launched the defunct video-sharing app Vine in 2012 with Dom Hofmann.
Vine was purchased by Twitter, and quickly skyrocketed to success among a new wave of online content creators before being shuttered in early 2017. Yusupov and Kroll went on to launch the video apps “Hype” and “Bounce” before building HQ Trivia, neither of which gained much traction. Hofmann announced just yesterday that he is planning a follow-up app of his own.
According to Rus, the knowledge garnered from the successes and challenges of Vine, in concert with continuous improvements in iPhone technology shaped the gameplay of HQ Trivia.
“We’ve learned that people aren’t interested in committing too much time to any one experience on their phone. With Vine, specifically, we learned that creative constraints — 6-second, square, looping videos — can inspire a new generation of video creators. We watched as people worked within these limitations to create truly brilliant content. With HQ, the spirit of creating within constraints is strong. It’s setup in a specific way where, if you remove any one element, the thing will fall apart.”