Here’s Why HQ Trivia, the App That Could Replace Game Shows, Is So Popular

It's tune-in television for a FOMO generation

HQ Trivia has taken over the internet.
Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Source: HQ

HQ Trivia launched just a few short months ago, but it’s already gained a daily audience of at least 600,000 viewers.

The app airs a live trivia contest twice a day with 12 questions in each round and awards anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 to be distributed equally among however many people get all 12 questions right. More than 300,000 people tune in to each “show” to test their knowledge and maybe win some cash.

It’s as simple as that—though there’s much debate about where the money actually comes from.

The app was founded by the creators of Vine and gained popularity when host Scott Rogowsky was profiled by The Daily Beast. Rus Yusupov, one of the app’s founders, seemingly didn’t understand how journalism works and threatened to fire Rogowsky over the profile. Instead, Rogowsky has only grown become more popular with fans around the world.

HQ has gained so much steam for so little apparent reason. Fans can chat during the live broadcast and occasionally win big, but it has the potential to take off as a new form of TV entertainment or replace some of the recorded game shows people have grown to love over the years.

With push notifications and a limited time to answer questions (or cheat), people have become addicted to the app. And despite its near-constant loading and lag problems, users haven’t gotten tired of the app’s problems. Fans likely are attracted to the possibility of winning money, which should come as no surprise, but the simple graphics and interactivity with the host and other contestants also make it feel more accessible and relatable.

Here are some fan reactions to the game that might give marketers and entertainment developers hints as to how to replicate its success:

https://twitter.com/nkulw/status/941761706837073922

at least one workplace was so obsessed, they had Rogowsky visit their office holiday party for a private game.

And here’s Rogowsky himself explaining that “tune-in” is the new FOMO. Today’s generation doesn’t want to miss a moment, and the app inspires a more motivated audience.

Good luck, HQties!