Plain Vanilla launches social mobile trivia platform QuizUp on iOS [Interview]


By Brandy Shaul Comment

Image via Plain Vanilla

Image via Plain Vanilla

Plain Vanilla has today announced the launch of QuizUp, its ambitious new social trivia game on iOS, containing over 100,000 trivia questions across almost 300 categories. The game allows users to answer trivia questions either individually, or in competition against friends and strangers, with support for asynchronous multiplayer.

QuizUp contains overall question themes, including Music, Movies, History and Business, and then breaks down those larger themes into niche topics. In the Movies category, for instance, users can choose questions about Action or Comedy films, or even something more specialized like Lord of the Rings or James Bond.

As players complete quizzes, they’ll be able to follow their stats on the in-game leaderboards, which allow for player comparisons on a local or global level. When players find a particular topic they really enjoy, they can look at the rankings for that specific topic, finding others who share their same interests. An in-game messaging system encourages users to introduce themselves and form friendships with these other players.

We had a chance to chat with Plain Vanilla CEO Thor Fridriksson about the development of QuizUp, and just what makes the game stand out from the other mobile trivia games.

[contextly_sidebar id=”9b0e1027c514bea029312907b38693bd”]Inside Mobile Apps: Given the crowded mobile gaming market, what inspired the formation of Plain Vanilla and its venture into social mobile games?

Thor Fridriksson: Well to be honest we didn’t really realize just how crowded the social mobile market would be. If we had done extensive research beforehand I´m pretty sure that we would not have had the courage to venture into this space. But we had an idea for a product that we thought was pretty awesome and I guess we just had the usual startup dreams of conquering the world. After playing with early builds of QuizUp with our Beta testers we discovered that our platform is actually a lot of fun and really addicting. We can’t wait to show it to the world!

IMA: What inspired the team at Plain Vanilla to create such a massive trivia game, rather than continuing to focus on more niche topics and individual games?

TF: After we published Twilight QuizUp we started getting a lot of feedback from our users asking for ways to communicate with other players on the platform. This came as a pleasant surprise to us and made us realize that we had something more in our hands than simply a series of trivia games. At that point we took a step back and looked at the social networking space. It so turns out that in the bigger social networks such as Facebook users really only communicate with people they know in real life. Facebook is really not a good place to discover new friends as it just feels kind of creepy to add a stranger to become your friend. We came to the conclusion that playing a trivia game with another person in a topic that you are both passionate about would be an ideal icebreaker to further communication.

With that in mind we set off to design QuizUp as a Social Trivia Network, where players could choose between hundreds of different niche topics and then make it easy for them to communicate with other players that share their passions and interests.

IMA: QuizUp obviously isn’t the first social trivia game ever created. What makes QuizUp better, or stand out from its competitors?

TF: I think the main difference is how QuizUp mixes together gaming elements to social networking elements. QuizUp is kind of a hybrid between a Social network, fan forum, IM client and a trivia game. We emphasize having a crazy amount of different topics so that everyone can find something they are passionate about. And if a particular topic does not exist we allow our users to submit new topics that everyone can try out.

IMA: Early images of QuizUp show multiple niche trivia topics (including Game of Thrones and Star Trek) that only fans of individual shows or books (as examples) may know the answers to. What has Plain Vanilla done to ensure that those rounds are still fun for players that may not be fans, or may not have any previous knowledge about those specialized topics?

TF: Nothing! We are not going to force anyone to play a round of sports trivia if that person has no interest in that topic. Our whole concept is that users can handpick the topics they are interested in and play other likeminded people.

IMA: Plain Vanilla has revealed that a points and leveling system will be in place in QuizUp. Are points and levels just for bragging rights, or do they serve a greater purpose in the entire experience?

TF: All topics have a very extensive leader board so that users can see just how big of a fan they are in a particular topic. In our Leaderboards you can check your ranking in the world, in your country, in your state or among your friends. You can even check your ranking in your city and explore the people around you.

QuizUp is now available to download for free on iOS. An Android version is currently in development. Check back soon to follow the game on AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social games and developers.