Logo of the HQ app
HQ (also HQ Trivia and Hype Quiz Trivia) is an app and trivia game, released in 26 August 2017 on iOS and later for Android on 31 December 2017. Players can participate at no cost in daily trivia games through which they can outright win or split prize money if they can correctly answer a series of questions of increasing difficulty. Players have ten seconds to answer each multiple-choice question.
HQ was developed by Vine creators Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll. Its primary host is Scott Rogowsky, who broadcasts from New York City, New York. Additional hosts include Sharon Carpenter (who is also regular host for the British games), Sarah Pribis, Matt Richards, David Magidoff, Sian Welby, Alexandra Maurer (regular host for the German games), Leonie Zeumer, Lara Falkner, Kathryn Goldsmith, Lyndsey Rodrigues, and, exclusively for the British games, Beric Livingstone.
The app takes a form of a live game show, which usually airs at 9 pm US Eastern Time daily, with another show at 3 pm US Eastern on weekdays (which has recently been changed to 8 pm for the summer). Recently, most of regional games tend to air at 9 pm local time, while HQ Trivia have started airing daily games in German, airing at 8 pm CEST. If multiple people correctly answer all 12 questions, the prize is split between all the respective winners. Often the prize can be split between as many as 3,000 people; however, in some extreme cases, there can be as many as 80,000 winners, or no winners at all. If there are no winners, that day's prize money is rolled over and added to the next day's prize.
The host asks a series of usually twelve increasingly difficult multiple choice questions, each with three possible answers. Players who get a question correct within the 10-second limit move on; the rest are eliminated. It is common for a game to have 8, 12 or 15 questions. Any question that eliminates a greater number of players than get the question correct is deemed a "savage question" (though some hosts do not do this). Players that correctly answer all questions split the prize money. Originally, the prize for games from Monday through Saturday was $250 but since has increased to $5,000, while Sundays, holidays, and special events have prizes up to $400,000. On Sundays, there is normally a $25,000 prize. The creators have stated that they plan to someday increase prizes to $1,000,000. The German games usually award prizes of €500, however due to fewer players taking part, this prize money is rolled over to the next day more frequently than in English games.
Players can earn "extra lives" by inviting friends to sign up for the game using referral codes or playing 5 days in a row. If at any time except the final question the player failed to answer the question correctly, the player can use the "extra life" to return to the game; however, the "extra life" can be used only once in one game. Once used, the "extra life" is no longer valid. “Extra lives” can also be purchased now. This menu is accessible through the homepage of HQ Trivia by tapping on the Extra Life heart icon. Users can purchase one Extra Life or a pack of three. After the Extra Lives are purchased, the heart in the top center of this screenshot will update to reflect the updated quantity. A purchased Extra Life would be able to be used in the next game a player enters, but a player can only use one Extra Life per game. Each Extra Life can only be used once. Please note that Extra Lives (both purchased and non-purchased) must be associated with an account, as the usage of an Extra Life is specific to an account's gameplay. Currently, this feature is only available on iOS devices.
On March 11, 2018, HQ introduced a new "1 Winner Takes All" format for its Sunday night game. In this version of the game, the host continues asking questions until only one player remains to claim the entire prize. The "extra life" is unavailable after the 15th question. If a question eliminates all remaining players, the game ends without a winner and the prize money rolls over to the following Sunday's game. The highest number of questions asked so far in this format is 27 on the March 18, 2018 show, which ended with no winner.
On March 26, 2018, in partnership with Nike, HQ also gave away special Nike Air Maxes to all the winners. Also, on April 11, in partnership with Warner Bros. in promotion for the movie Rampage starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, HQ gave away $300,000. Their largest prize to date is $400,000 in recognition of the NBA Finals in Game 4.
On May 31, 2018, HQ introduced HQ Sports, a spinoff game in which players answer sports trivia questions. HQ Sports is hosted by Lauren Gambino, co-host of the fantasy football web show "Offsides".
HQ is available worldwide on the iOS App Store and Google Play, with live shows targeted to North American, UK, German and Australian audiences. Average numbers of participants range from 600,000 to 1,600,000 per broadcast, during the American games, with over 2 million concurrent players on occasion, and from 2000 to 5000 players during the German games.
HQ has been criticized for its method of paying winners. Typically, victorious players receive between $10 and $14, but payouts have been as low as $0.12 or as high as $100,000 and a pair of HQ Nike sneakers. In order to cash out and receive their winnings through a PayPal deposit, winners previously needed to have achieved a "minimum prize balance" of $20 accumulated within a period of 90 days, or all prior winnings are forfeited, per the game's terms of service. Starting on January 26, 2018, during the 3 pm EST show, it was announced that there would be no minimum amount to cash out.
The iOS and Android apps have also experienced many technical glitches as the app has grown in popularity, sparking outrage from players. In addition, users have complained of lagging, freezing, and premature elimination during gameplay, which on January 22, 2018, and May 8, 2018, became so severe the game was postponed to address the difficulties.
Creators Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll have sought to attract investors and venture capitalist firms to fund HQ with the intent of landing a post-money valuation as high as $100 million. However, the pair's prior split from Twitter has caused issues; Kroll departed the social media site in 2014 after accusations of incompetence and alleged inappropriate behavior towards women, and Yusupov was laid off in 2015, giving potential investors reasons for pause. As of December 2017[update], HQ's fundraising prospects are ongoing and its parent company, Intermedia Labs, is still in talks with potential investors.
The game won the A-Train Award for Best Mobile Game at the New York Game Awards 2018.
Time magazine awarded it "App of the year" for 2017.
On September 18, 2018, HQ Trivia announced a spinoff of their original app called "HQ Words", a word puzzle game, which is set to launch in October.
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- @HQTrivia (22 January 2018). "We ran into an issue starting today's game. Sorry for any inconvenience. You'll be notified when we restart shortly" (Tweet). Retrieved 22 January 2018 – via Twitter.
- @HQTrivia (8 May 2018). "Hey! We see many of you were wrongfully Eliminated on Q1. That's not fair so we are going to restart. We will let you know with a push notification. Thank you and see you soon :)" (Tweet). Retrieved 8 May 2018 – via Twitter.
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