The dream has come to an end, HQties. HQ Trivia, the popular live trivia game show app that everyone and their brother seemed to be playing at one point, is shutting down, laying off all 25 of its full-time staff. According to a statement from CEO Rus Yusupov (via TechCrunch), HQ Trivia was in negotiations to be purchased by “an established business,” but the buyer pulled out at the last minute, leaving the struggling company with investors who were no longer willing to keep the ship afloat.
“…for reasons we are still investigating, they suddenly changed their position and despite our best efforts, we were not able to reach an understanding,” the statement reads. “Unfortunately, our lead investors are no longer willing to fund the company, and so effective today, HQ will cease operations and move to dissolution.”
It’s been a wild journey for HQ. The live trivia app, wherein users could log on to watch a host of varying likeability ask 12 questions of increasing difficulty for a chance at winning a piece of a huge cash prize, sprang up seemingly out of nowhere in late 2017. Created by Yusupov and Colin Kroll, two of the founders of Vine, HQ Trivia at one point boasted over 2 million simultaneous players, and at the height of its popularity averaged 2 million downloads a month. But the app was plagued with issues, including technical problems, dedicated cheaters reducing the prize pool to negligible amounts, a much-publicized internal mutiny attempt to oust Yusupov as CEO, and the sudden death of Kroll.
I was an early player of HQ Trivia, and it was undoubtedly a fun and unique idea for an app. But I admittedly got bored with it pretty quickly (I never managed to make it past Question 6), and they never seemed to quite figure out how to capitalize on their incredible early success to create a sustainable show. Somebody else will almost certainly come along with a new iteration of the live trivia app, but until then I guess it’s back to Pokemon Go. (Million dollar idea – have Pikachu read me trivia questions for cash.)