HQ's main logo
HQ (also known as HQ Trivia, HQ Trivia & Words, or HQ Trivia, Tunes, Sports and Words) is an app and mobile trivia game, released on August 26, 2017, for iOS and later for Android on December 31, 2017. Players can play for free in daily trivia games through which they can win or split prize money. HQ was developed by Vine creators Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll.
The app's original game is HQ Trivia, in which players have ten seconds to answer multiple-choice questions, which increase in difficulty. The primary host of HQ Trivia is Matt Richards, while Anna Roisman regularly hosts HQ Words, Melody Alanna is the host of HQ Tunes, and Lauren Gambino serves as the host of HQ Sports. The hosts broadcast the shows live from New York City.
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The host asks a series of 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. Any question that eliminates the majority of players is deemed a "savage question". In the usual case that multiple people correctly answer all the questions, the prize is split between all the respective winners. As of December 2017[update], the prize for games had ranged from $200 to $400,000. Players can purchase "extra lives" – or earn them through game-play or by inviting additional players – and may use up to three to return to the game after being eliminated. In addition, players can earn "erasers" to eliminate one of the wrong answers to a question.
HQ Trivia has partnered with Nike, Wendy's, Warner Bros. and other organisations to promote products and movies such as Rampage, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and The Lego Movie 2. Special modes of game-play have included formats such as "Winner Takes All" and "The 100".
In April 2019, Scott Rogowsky, who was the host from HQ's start, was replaced by Matt Richards as the primary host of the game after negotiations with Rogowsky and HQ broke down over his new baseball show on DAZN. Richards, a stand-up comedian from Queens, New York who has played comedy roles in several TV shows, had previously worked regularly for HQ Trivia as a fill-in host. Additional hosts have included Sharon Carpenter (who was also the main host for the British games), Sarah Pribis, David Magidoff, Sian Welby, Alexandra Maurer (regular host for the German games), Leonie Zeumer, Lara Falkner, Kathryn Goldsmith, Lauren Gambino, Lyndsey Rodrigues, and, exclusively for the British games, Beric Livingstone.
In May 2019, the game began offering prize money to those who correctly answer specific questions within the game, rather than only those who correctly answer all the questions. The number of questions for the 9 pm ET shows was also increased, from 12–15 questions to 25–30 questions, and the prize pots for those shows were increased to accommodate this.
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 Sports is usually played every Monday and Wednesday at 8:00 pm ET. The standard top prize for HQ Sports shows is $1,000.
In December 2018, HQ Trivia launched another game called HQ Words, a word puzzle game in the style of Wheel of Fortune. Players first spin a wheel to receive a free letter which automatically appears for them if it is in a specific puzzle. Players are then given a series of 12 puzzles in which they fill in letters to complete the word or short sentence. Initially, if players entered 3 letters wrong in a puzzle, they were eliminated from the game. Beginning on February 13, 2019, HQ Words began allowing 10 incorrect letter choices across all the game's puzzles. By April 2019, it has changed to 5 strikes plus one for each level the player has attained in the current HQ season. The prize has ranged from $1,000 to $10,000. HQ Words is usually hosted by comedian Anna Roisman, but has been guest hosted by Matt Richards, Timothy Dunn, and Neil Patrick Harris.
On October 9, 2019, HQ Trivia announced and launched a spin-off trivia game called "HQ Tunes" hosted by New York City singer and songwriter Melody Alanna, who was a host of the former music trivia app, "Out of Tune". Unlike the main Trivia format, players have 10 seconds to answer multimedia questions that play behind the answer choices.
HQ is available worldwide on the iOS App Store and Google Play, with live shows targeted to North American, UK, German and Australian audiences. The average number of participants range from 100,000 to 125,000, and with over 150,000 concurrent players every Sunday. The app's record high of concurrent players was 2.38 million on March 28, 2018. According to the HQ Trivia Australia Twitter, the final game aired on August 9, 2018, just 12 days after the first show aired on July 25, 2018. HQ Trivia Germany (translated from HQ Trivia Deutschland in German) announced their last game on August 11, 2018. Finally, HQ Trivia UK announced a break as they prepared for HQ Words on December 5, 2018.
HQ has been criticized for its method of paying winners. Some players or previous winners may have a grey cash-out button. A grey cash-out button means that either the player hasn't won anything or they are soft-banned from the game due to "bot checking". For iOS users, some winners will have the cash-out button gray. For Android users, the cash-out button can be clicked, but it will display a message saying that they need $0.01 more to cash-out even though they have won the game. Typically, victorious players receive under $1, although payouts have on occasion gotten 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.
Alex Jacob, who won a $20,000 prize on HQ Trivia in June 2019, stated he had not been paid his winnings a month after his win. In lieu of a direct payment, HQ Trivia had initially informed Jacob that they would e-mail further instructions but never sent the e-mail and failed to respond to follow-ups. Jacob eventually received his payment in August and gave a public statement noting that the company had delayed in the payout to ensure that he had not defrauded the system.
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 game-play, which on several occasions, including January 22, 2018, and May 8, 2018, became so severe the game was postponed to address the difficulties.
Creators Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll 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 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 were ongoing and its parent company, Intermedia Labs, was still in talks with potential investors. On December 16, 2018, Kroll was found dead from an apparent drug overdose in his Manhattan apartment.
The game won the A-Train Award for Best Mobile Game at the New York Game Awards 2018. It also won the award for "Word & Trivia Game" with Nike and HQ Trivia - Nike X HQ Air Max Day at the 2019 Webby Awards.
Time magazine ranked it "App of the year" for 2017.
On July 16, 2019, it was announced that HQ Trivia was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Interactive Program for its partnership with Warner Bros. to promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.
|2019||Webby Award||Best Word & Trivia Game||Colin Kroll, Rus Yusupov, Brandon Teitel, Dylan Abruscato, Nick Gallo, Scott Rogowsky, Russell Wyner, Alexander Friedman, Josiah Madigan; with Nike and R/GA||Won|||
|Clio Sports||Digital/Mobile: Games||Colin Kroll, Rus Yusupov, Brandon Teitel, Dylan Abruscato, Nick Gallo, Scott Rogowsky, Russell Wyner, Alexander Friedman, Josiah Madigan; with Nike and R/GA||Won|||
|Clio Sports||Partnerships, Sponsorships & Collaborations||Colin Kroll, Rus Yusupov, Brandon Teitel, Dylan Abruscato, Nick Gallo, Scott Rogowsky, Russell Wyner, Alexander Friedman, Josiah Madigan; with Nike and R/GA||Won|||
|Shorty Award||Emerging Platform||Rus Yusupov, Brandon Teitel, Dylan Abruscato, Nick Gallo, Scott Rogowsky, Russell Wyner, Josiah Madigan; with Warner Bros. Pictures||Finalist|||
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Original Interactive Program||Brandon Teitel, Dylan Abruscato, Scott Rogowsky, Nick Gallo, Ellen Burke; with Warner Bros. Pictures and Animal Logic||Nominated|||
- Castillo, Michelle (20 November 2017). "Vine's Creators Want You to Win Free Money with Their New Trivia App". CNBC. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
- Price, Emily (28 December 2017). "More Than 730,000 People Played HQ Trivia on Christmas Day". Fortune. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
- Kumparak, Greg (6 December 2017). "Looks like HQ Trivia is coming to Android". TechCrunch. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- Hager, Ryne (31 December 2017). "HQ Trivia Is Now Out on Android". Android Police. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
- "HQ Trivia replaces Quiz Daddy Scott Rogowsky". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
- Graham, Megan (16 January 2018). "HQ Trivia's Scott Rogowsky Doesn't Want You To Cheat (And Yes, Those Eyebrows Are All Natural)". AdAge. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
- Hua, Karen (2018-03-20). "How long will the HQ craze last?". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
- "HQ Trivia for Android: Everything you need to know". Android Central. 2018-06-27. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
- Feldman, Brian. "Trivia Expert and HQ Winner Paul Paquet Knows the Secret to Savage Questions". Select All. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
- HQ Trivia (11 December 2017). "HQ Trivia on Twitter 10:50 AM - 11 Dec 2017". Twitter. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- Bradley, Nina (November 2017). "Where does the HQ trivia money come from? Well, it's Complicated". Bustle. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
- "HQ Trivia FAQ: Times, Chat, How to Win, Extra Lives, & More". iMore. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
- King, Pat (2 May 2019). "Getting to know Matt Richards, the new host of HQ Trivia". Metro. Retrieved 2019-05-04.
- Cheatle, Julian (6 January 2017). "Who is Matt Richards from Ghosts in the Hood?". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved 2019-05-04.
- Bowman, Sabienna (November 2017). "Who Are The HQ Trivia Hosts Who Aren't Scott Rogowsky? Quiz Daddy Is Part Of A Team". Bustle. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- Webb, Kevin (2019-05-21). "HQ Trivia is making a major change to the game by offering players a way to win prize money that doesn't require getting every question right". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
- @ActuallyNPH (10 January 2019). "Neil Patrick Harris on Twitter: "As I'm not hosting the Oscars, watch me host the next best thing: HQ Trivia! At 9:00 EST I'll host their new show @hqwords ($10k at play!) and at 9:30 I'll host @hqtrivia - all How I Met Your Mother questions. Boom. Whaat? Let's do this. Download and play: t.co/AXUgo2PHG2"" (Tweet). Retrieved 4 June 2019 – via Twitter.
- HQ Trivia [@hqtrivia] (2019-10-09). "NEW GAME ALERT HQ Tunes is live right now with @MelodyyAlannapic.twitter.com/xNDvkf9lR9" (Tweet). Retrieved 2019-10-11 – via Twitter.
- Roettgers, Janko (2018-08-01). "Out of Tune Wants to Be the HQ Trivia of Music". Variety. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
- Farokhmanesh, Megan (8 January 2018). "HQ trivia app launches in the UK". The Verge. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
- "HQ Trivia downloads spiral downward as it hits Apple TV". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
- HQ Trivia Australia [@hqtriviaoz] (9 August 2018). "Hey HQties! We've had a great time playing HQ Trivia Australia with you and have completed the pilot for the show. Stay tuned for future updates about the game and in the meantime, you can catch our global show daily at 11am AEST!" (Tweet). Retrieved 4 June 2019 – via Twitter.
- HQ Trivia Australia [@hqtriviaoz] (25 July 2018). "The first ever game of HQ Trivia Australia is live at 9p AEST with your host @LyndsRodrigues! So excited to have a show with our HQties down under ❤️" (Tweet). Retrieved 4 June 2019 – via Twitter.
- HQ Trivia Deutschland [@hqtriviade] (11 August 2018). "Hallo liebe HQties! Die erste Ausgabe unserer Show ist nun komplett und wir bedanken uns bei Euch fürs Mitspielen. Folgt uns auf Twitter für zukünftige Updates und bis dahin könnt Ihr unsere globale Show um 23 Uhr genießen!" [Hello dear HQties! The first edition of our show is now complete and we would like to thank you for playing along. Follow us on Twitter for future updates and until then you can enjoy our global show at 11pm!] (Tweet) (in German). Retrieved 4 June 2019 – via Twitter.
- HQ Trivia UK [@hqtriviauk] (5 December 2018). "HQ Trivia UK on Twitter: "We're taking a break as we get ready for our brand new show @HQWords. Stay tuned!"" (Tweet). Retrieved 4 June 2019 – via Twitter.
- Romano, Aja (22 January 2018). "Is HQ Trivia a modern reinvention of the game show or a glitch-filled scam?". Vox. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- Kegu, Jessica (23 January 2018). "What's fueling HQ Trivia's popularity?". CBS News. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
- "HQ Contest Official Rules". Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- Moon, Mariella (27 January 2018). "HQ Trivia scraps $20 minimum requirement to withdraw prizes". Engadget. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
- Garrett, Eric (8 July 2019). "HQ Trivia Player Wins $20,000, Doesn't Receive Payout". ComicBook. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- Jacob, Alex [@whoisalexjacob] (8 August 2019). "To follow up on my post about @hqtrivia, the team at HQ has resolved my issues. They took some time to ensure everyone is following the rules, which is always good. I look forward to continuing to play for the big jackpots and am sure you'll join me" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 September 2019 – via Twitter.
- Hess, Amanda (5 January 2018). "How HQ Trivia Became the Best Worst Thing on the Internet". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
- Bogost, Ian (22 December 2017). "HQ Trivia Is a Harbinger of Dystopia". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- @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.
- Wagner, Kurt (18 December 2017). "HQ Trivia's founders are facing fundraising roadblocks after investors learned of alleged bad behavior". Recode. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- Ferré-Sadurní, Luis; Maheshwari, Sapna (16 December 2018). "HQ Trivia and Vine Co-Founder Colin Kroll Dies, Apparently of Overdose, Police Say". New York Times.
- Whitney, Kayla (25 January 2018). "Complete list of winners of the New York Game Awards 2018". AXS. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
- Liao, Shannon (23 April 2019). "Here are all the winners of the 2019 Webby Awards". The Verge. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
- Fitzpatrick, Alex (November 27, 2017). "The Top 10 Apps of 2017". Time. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- "Emmys 2019: List of Nominations". Variety. July 16, 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
- "Nike and HQ Trivia – Nike x HQ Air Max Day". Webby Awards. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- "Nike and HQ Trivia – Nike x HQ Air Max Day". Clio Awards. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- "Nike and HQ Trivia – Nike x HQ Air Max Day". Clio Awards. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- "READY PLAYER ONE/HQ TRIVIA INTEGRATION Finalist in EMERGING PLATFORM". Shorty Awards. Retrieved August 8, 2019.