HQ Trivia might just be the hottest new app to come out of 2017.
With hundreds of thousands of users in just a few months, and a new beta Android app to complement the Apple version, more and more people are tuning into the new type of trivia game. It was named on several “best apps of 2017” lists including Time.com and Business Insider.
The app offers a couple things most phone games don’t: real money for a prize and a live game-show host – making it feel like a live TV show.
The app’s premise is simple: twice throughout the day (usually at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET) 12 trivia questions are read out loud by a host. You have 10 seconds to answer and if you get the question right, you move on to the next one.
The questions are multiple choice and get harder as the game continues.
If you get all the questions right, you get to split the pot, which ranges in prize money. Wednesday’s prize was US$2,000, but on New Year’s Eve, the prize was $18,000. The creators say they hope to get prizes up to $1 million.
With hundreds of thousands of people playing, that means if you win, you usually get a small fraction of the prize, but that doesn’t stop people from celebrating a small $11 win.
But a few lucky people have won big – according to the app’s leaderboard, two people have been paid $6,000 for their wins.
HQ founders Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll were previously known for their role in creating Vine, the short video sensation circa 2012.
Vine was bought out by Twitter and eventually shut down because the social media giant couldn’t monetize it.
But Yusupov says the HQ experience is based off player experience instead of monetization.
“We started out knowing we were making players the centre of the experience,” Yusupov told Variety in November. “We knew we wanted to throw together Hollywood-style production with a fun way to play a version of mobile ‘Jeopardy’ that you can actually win yourself.”
WATCH: 2017 Year in review
Prizes are in US dollars, but anyone can play – even in Canada.
The money is paid out to your Paypal account.
But the founders admit that it’s mostly tailored to a North American audience since the times are in eastern standard time.
The questions are also tailored for an American market – which shouldn’t deter Canadian players.
“It’s hard to make a trivia game for everyone in the world. It’s about culture and general knowledge,” Yusupov told Variety.
READ MORE: How to date in 2018 without using apps
Comedian Scott Rogowsky is the main host for the app, and spends the 15-minute quiz shows quipping about the questions and about life in general.
He’s gained a bit of a fan-following, and garnered nicknames like “Quiz Daddy” and “Quizzie McQuire,” Quartz reports.
His rapid rise in popularity caught him a spot on ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2017 in Times Square where he quizzed people all across the country.
He told the Daily Beast he gets recognized at restaurants and on the street, but the biggest thing that’s changed since he started hosting is the number of his Twitter followers.
He says he loves the in-game messaging part of the app.
“I feel like HQ has been a force for good and it’s brought together this amazing community. I would love to see the first people to get married from HQ. Maybe they’ll meet in the chat and name their first child Scott,” Rogowsky told the Daily Beast.
When he’s not quizzing for HQ, they have a few other hosts including Sharon Carpenter.