Everything You Need to Know About HQ Trivia (Except the Answers)

Trivial Pursuits

HQ Trivia could have been another blip in the internet pan – the Flappy Bird of 2018.

But after attracting more than 2 million users on Sunday night, and having just raised $15 million in funding at a $100 million valuation, it appears everyone’s favorite gameshow app is here to stay.

Here’s everything you need to know about the HQ phenomenon (including how to cheat).

What is HQ Trivia?

Seriously? Launched in August 2017, HQ Trivia is an iOS and Android app that broadcasts live, interactive game shows every day. Games are usually a dozen questions long, and the players who successfully answer all 12 split a cash prize. Originally those prizes were a mere $100, but last Sunday’s game saw the jackpot hit $50,000.

The game has become a cultural touchpoint in the last six months, with guest appearances from Jimmy Kimmel, Bert from Sesame Street, and Kristi Yamaguchi. The New York Post has even reported on host Scott Rogowsky’s love life.

Who’s behind HQ Trivia?

New York’s Intermedia Labs is behind HQ Trivia. The company was founded in 2015 by Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov, who last found success with Vine, which they sold to Twitter for $30 million in 2012.

Kroll and Yusupov’s path hasn’t been entirely trouble-free, however. Kroll was reportedly fired from Twitter in 2014 for “bad behavior” and Yusupov had a very public blowup with a Daily Beast reporter when host Rogowsky spoke to her without his permission. (Yusupov later apologized.)

Should we expect ads? How are they making money?

Of course you should expect ads. But the founders promise they won’t be the typical television or stream interstitials. Look for “sponsored” questions and more native advertising in the near future.

Is it possible to cheat at HQ Trivia?

Yes… kind of.

If you’re incredibly fast at Google, or friends with someone who is, you could maintain an advantage. A look at Google Trends reveals it’s a very popular option. The writers at HQ are becoming increasingly better at making their questions difficult to parse for search engines however.

If you’ve got programming skills, you could build a computer vision bot that does all the cheating for you – you can find a handy Github walkthrough right here. Here’s another methodology.

And then there was the short-lived HQuack, a bot that predicted the correct answers with less-than-stellar accuracy.

But perhaps the best way to win is to simply understand the game. If you want to go deep on the HQ data, this obsessive study on HQ’s odds from The Washington Post should help.