HQ Trivia: live app instead of television show

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The quiz app HQ Trivia is taking the US by storm. Instead of turn-based quiz duels it goes live to the point. Including moderator and cash prizes. The result: a cultural phenomenon that rivals social networks and television. We've taken a closer look at the "cult" and tell you what it's all about.

The app is a mix of live TV and iPhone game. The big attraction of playing around 15 minutes is that you can only play them at fixed times. This is due to the presenter Scott Rogowsky, who moderates the games live. Meanwhile, the app relies on more presenters and moderators. But Rogowsky remains the biggest crowd pleaser and figurehead of the app.

The app broadcasts live from New York City. Once or twice a day at fixed times. If you want to play in Germany, you can only do so in the evening or at night. The game rounds are possible at 21 o'clock on weekdays and at 3 o'clock on all days in Germany. Exclusively at these times. The success came quickly. In August 2017, the app went online for the first time. On Christmas Day 2017, more than 700,000 users played at the same time. By the beginning of January there were already over a million. Further growth is inevitable thanks to the Android app released in January.

App as Quiz Show

The game itself is reminiscent of many other quiz apps on the App Store. You will be asked a question in 12 rounds. Within ten seconds, you have to pick the right one out of the three suggested answers. If you are right, come on for a round. Whoever is wrong, flies out directly and is only allowed to watch. But the special attraction is the trappings: you and your opponents all play at the same time. So live. Just like the moderators who present the game live. Especially Rogowsky convinces with his own charm. He speaks to individual users directly with their username. He jokes through the rounds and daily events. And welds the community together.

Unlike other quiz apps, HQ Trivia has something to gain. Namely prize money. The fall per game rather low. The profit margin is between a few thousand US dollars per game. Often, dozens of players win at the same time and share the cash prize. The possible profit you receive by Paypal transfer. The founders dream of prize money up to one million US dollars. By then, HQ Trivia would be a real competitor to TV shows like "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

The App Under Test

Without app, HQ Trivia does not work. The free application can be found in the App Store. So far there is no German adaptation. The use, the questions and of course the moderations are all in English. If you want to play, you need a separate account. You create this on your device. When registering, you must enter your telephone number. You will then receive a login code via SMS. Depending on the mobile phone tariff, you may be charged a fee for this step. With the verification code, you then log in to the app. Then you can create your user profile. If you are not in the mood for the registration process, you can also use the app as a viewer. But then you can not answer any questions or win cash prizes. With push messages, you will receive a hint shortly before the game starts before each live game. Unfortunately, technical problems repeatedly occur. The live video freezes, preventing interaction. This can cost you valuable guessing time. And lead to the sacking of the game round. In the test, there were also often problems before the game starts. The entire game then had to be canceled and postponed before the start. In the technical problems shows the rapid success of the app. The technical infrastructure has to contend with the hundreds of thousands of players at the same time.

The Cultural Phenomenon

Regardless of technical issues, the app has quickly gained cult status. This is especially evident in the celebrity cult around HQ tribe presenter Rogowsky. He calls his players "HQuties" and calls particularly heavy questions as "Savage". These words have become indispensable in the meantime. As soon as other moderators take on quiz rounds, the chat unites with "Free Scott" demands. The reason is simple: Rogowsky brings a very own, appropriate charm in his presentations. He is not too bad for any joke, brings the right energy into play and thus animates every quiz round. In addition, HQ Trivia offers its own social dynamics. Those who play usually play with their entire environment: work colleagues in the office, roommates at home or classmates in the big break. HQ Trivia thus has the same social effect as TV quiz shows at prime time. Together, it always advises best. That in turn helped the app to quick success. Anyone who advises, wants to be there as a participant quickly. The prize money adds to this dynamic. Unlike other quiz apps, it's not just about prestige, it's about real money. The prize pots are relatively small and in the end even smaller than expected due to the many winners per game. The fact that it's about a prize money gives the app another spice. The fourth special feature is the live character. After around ten years of smartphones and apps, a certain amount of saturation has spread. New apps have a harder time getting into acceptance or even becoming a cultural phenomenon. HQ Trivia's approach of working at fixed times only once or twice a day has a very special appeal. While other apps call for constant use and fight with push messages for the favor of the users, the app decreases sharply. The application reminds only shortly before a new live game round with a push message to itself. So maximally twice daily. The idea of ​​playing every game with hundreds of thousands of people at once and around the world is also new and exciting.

All these factors helped HQ Trivia make a quick and sweeping success. This is also reflected in the growing interest of established TV presenters. Geoff Keighley, founder of the Game Awards, the most important video game award, has taken on an HQ trivia show in early December. Late-night presenter Jimmy Kimmel made a guest appearance in January for his own show. The interest of other media partners grows so with the increasing number of users of HQ Trivia.

The rise was not completely smooth. With the first media interest around HQ Trivia and moderator Rogowsky came the first scandals. After a harmless interview of "The Daily Beast" with Rogowsky HQ Trivia co-founder Rus Yusupov threatened the publication and the moderator with sacking. The HQ fans showed solidarity with Rogowsky and the PR disaster was perfect.


HQ Trivia has made a steep climb. The quiz app impresses with its live character and offbeat charm thanks to stubborn moderators. In addition, the live app shows a possible future of television. Today, with Netflix and iTunes providing all other media on demand, the quiz app brings hundreds of thousands of people together around their smartphones. If technical problems are eliminated in the future and the prize money continues to rise, Günther Jauch and "Wer wird Millionär" have to dress warmly. Or just move to the iPhone.

Also live

The idea of ​​a live quiz show game is not new. As early as 2009 Microsoft tried to implement similar on the Xbox 360. With the game "1 against 100" played Xbox players live over the Internet against each other. As prizes they could win Xbox credits or games. Microsoft entered into a partnership with TV producer Endemol. In the summer, a beta phase also started in Germany. Microsoft funded the game via advertising. There were two seasons during the year. A year later, however, Microsoft announced the end of the live show. Observers suspect that the show did not earn enough money.

Workshop: How to Play

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