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HQ (also known as HQ Trivia, 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 and Lauren Gambino serves as the host of HQ Sports. The hosts broadcast the shows live from New York City.Contents
HQ Trivia takes the form of a live game show, which usually airs daily at 9PM US Eastern Time. In 2018, the app broadcast games in Germany, Australia, and the U.K.
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 9PM 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.HQ Sports
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.HQ Words
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.Release
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 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.Controversies Payments
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.Technical issues
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.Founders' reputations
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.Reception
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.Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref. 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  References