App offers real cash prizes with no catch
Live trivia app HQ set to be the future of mobile gaming
By Amber McLinden, Features Editor
It’s 7 p.m. You hear the ping go off on your phone. Your heart starts beating. You slide the notification and wait as the countdown begins. Your fingers shake. Are you ready?
No, it’s not a doomsday count, or a timer for your assignment due at midnight. It’s the HQ app, a live trivia game show that is gaining popularity faster than any other mobile game on the market today.
The mobile game show, which TechCrunch reported on Oct. 17 had only 3,300 players the previous night, usually attracts around 200,000 or more players these days.
How does a game founded only in August of this year gain over 50 times it’s audience in less than three months? The answer is simple. Real cash prizes.
That’s right, folks. Those players are here for a chance to win money. The jackpot, which usually ranges from $1,000 to $8,500, a new high as of Dec. 3, can be won by players if they answer 12 questions correctly.
The jackpot is split between all players who answer all 12 questions correctly. If no players win, the money turns over to the next round. At 7 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST), and an extra game at 1 p.m. MST on weekdays, you need to have notifications turned on to be alerted the game is starting.
On Dec. 3 players were vying for a $8,500 cash prize. Forty-two people won, dividing the money up, winning approximately $212 each. Following a win, the money is transferred to the players’ PayPal.
The founders of the mysterious new gaming app are none other than co-founders of the late-but-great Vine, Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll. Vine, unfortunately, died a slow death at the hands of Twitter in 2015.
Yusupov and Kroll quit Twitter that same year and began working with Intermedia Labs, an app studio. The duo got a few million dollars funding for the app through Lightspeed partner Jeremy Liew. The venture capital firm partner also spoke with TechCrunch about the app.
“We really believed in the technical and design capability of Rus and Colin and their broad thinking about the future of mobile video being far more interactive than just hearts,” says Liew, likely referring to Instagram and other social media apps that allow you to like videos.
It’s definitely a innovative concept, if that’s how you see it. To others, it seems especially strange that you can just win money, with many asking, “what’s the catch?”
It may seem weird, because the internet always seems to be asking for something in return, but in reality the app is only in it’s startup phase. Likely the seed money from Liew and Lightspeed are are being used for some of the cash prizes, creating a larger audience to pave the way for monetization through advertising.
There are many ways that are already presenting themselves, such as in-game advertisements and sponsored questions or content. Where Vine seemed to have trouble monetizing, especially after being acquired by Twitter, it seems as though Yusupov and Kroll have focused HQ around the concept of money entirely.
So while others seem to be suspicious of the turn HQ might take, others are cashing in. With a record amount of players trying to get their piece of $8,500 on Dec. 3, the number of people in the game reached over 320,000.
The game shows great potential for growth, has an interesting concept and has a number of potential paths in front of it. While other apps are still charging people $1.50 to download, HQ is paying winners.
So how do you actually win the money? The trivia questions themselves are general knowledge, ranging from questions like, “Which restaurant is known for Tex-Mex?” to “Where would you find the gracilis muscle?” the game seems to give everybody a fair chance, unless you’re a general knowledge whiz. You have 10 seconds to answer, leaving little time to try and cheat by googling the answer.
You can also refer friends to sign up with your username, which gives you extra lives, limited to one life per game. Regularly, if you get an answer wrong, you’re eliminated. With an extra life, you could be one step closer to the money even if you get an answer wrong.
That might be a limited-time user acquisition strategy, which also has the potential to become an in-app purchase and another revenue stream, Inc.com speculated.
While 320,000 players seems like a lot, it’s miniscule compared to what HQ has the potential to bring. With the growth heading exponentially upwards, increasing prize sizes and competition will head that way too. If you want to see what it’s like, download the app for yourself (and feel free to use referral code amcli602).