How HQ Trivia Has Inspired a Whole New Media Trend
- Sep 11 2018
- Media & Entertainment
Everyone from startups and social media platforms to major TV networks are getting in on the trivia trend, but are they too late?
HQ Trivia took the app store by storm late last year, with Time reporting that “everybody is obsessed” with the game, and The Verge going so far as to call it “the future of both mobile gaming and live TV.” TechCrunch reports the app peaked this January when it hit number six in the app store, and had a game to remember to wrap up the year: over 750,000 people played the addictive gaming experience that night, a strong start to 2018 and a harbinger for things to come—until it wasn’t. Like most over-hyped apps, the excitement has since cooled. And the app’s downloads have been sloping downward ever since. Sensor Tower data estimates that app installs dropped to 560K last month, compared to a peak of “two million per month back in February.”
Nonetheless, many new companies are hopping on the trend, hoping to emulate the aspects that propelled HQ to fame in the first place. HQ told Ypulse that “the future of TV is interactive, mobile and social,” and HQ Trivia fits the bill because it’s “very different from traditional TV, streaming or gaming experiences, where the audience plays more of a passive role, watching from behind a screen, on-demand.” Adweek also reports that HQ Trivia’s success is one example of how anti-on demand experiences are on the rise, opening the door for brands to cash in. “People are scheduling their days around playing HQ,” explained the CEO, “and it’s a very dramatic shift from what we’ve been seeing in digital media with Netflix, Hulu and these services that promise convenience.”
That’s all to say that we shouldn’t count out HQ copycats just yet. The underlying trends that propelled this game up the app store echelons are still there, and if the following six gameshow spin-offs can leverage them, they might find the formula for lasting success:
Facebook is upping their video offerings by taking cues from HQ Trivia’s success and rolling out a gameshow platform of their own. Rather than a standalone experience, the new platform will be a launchpad for all kinds of interactive content from different publishers and creators. TechCrunch reports that they’ll initially teaming up with BuzzFeed, INSIDER, and Fresno, but plan to invite creators to make their own content, ranging from in-video polls to full-blown trivia shows. Facebook wants to leverage the Influencer Effect and is hoping that influencers bring their “unique audience[s]” to the platform.
Another HQ Trivia copycat has hit the app store, showing how popular live-streamed trivia is, reports BuzzFeed. In Majority Rules, instead of answering obscure trivia questions, players guess the most common answer to simple questions like “Name something people would hate to step in while walking to work” (Correct answer: poop). The copycat app just goes to show that live mobile game shows aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Of course, if something is popular with young consumers, it doesn’t take long for TV networks to try to tap into the trend—and HQ Trivia is no exception. And because TV is already full of game and quiz shows, they’re turning out mobile content instead. This August, Fox introduced the live trivia app FNGenius, in a clear direct response to HQ’s success. The live trivia show on FNGenius is hosted by Jordan L. Jones, the star of a Fox comedy series (crossover!), who doles our prizes up to $25,000 to participating players in real-time. Another TV network has anonymously told Digiday that they are also working up an HQ competitor, so don’t expect the TV-fueled copycats to end!
Rumor has it Musical.ly is working on a “HQ Trivia copycat” for tweens. Musical.ly’s parent company Bytedance has take notice of the buzz around the live-streamed mobile trivia game show, according to tubefilter, and a recent planning document from the company reportedly details “Project F,” a twice daily mobile trivia game show. While others have tried to imitate HQ Trivia’s success, Musical.ly is a successful live-streaming platform that already has a huge tween audience to bring into the fold of a new feature—or even a standalone app.
This app is putting a spin on HQ Trivia with live gaming and exclusive prizes. Instead of trivia, participants play live mobile games, and the fastest to complete the challenges win coveted merch ranging from Kylie Jenner Lip Kits to the latest pair of Yeezys—streetwear and cult beauty favorites that are often released in extremely limited drops. How do they have it? Little is known about the founders, but they’re rumored to run in celebrity circles, according to the New York Post.
Samantha Bee will be the host of this politically-fueled live trivia app, meant to drive viewership to Full Frontal with Samantha Bee while encouraging viewers to go to the polls for the upcoming midterm elections. Bee told Marie Claire that “It felt like somebody had to try something…to drive voter turnout. We don’t have a clue if it’s going to work or succeed or fail. It’s been a grand experiment,” and that she’s hoping to “gamify the midterms.” If she can inspire the same fan fervor as HQ Trivia’s host, Scott Rogowsky, odds look good.
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