The latest entertainment trivia app seems to be getting downloaded faster than you can google what it even is. The gameshow style app has absolutely taken off in recent months. Everyday at 3 pm and 9 pm, players can tune in and give their best trivia try towards winning some cold hard cash. It sounds like a simple concept, but the surprise savage questions weed out the weak fast. As I’ve become a regular player and viewer recently, the app raised a few questions that pushed me to peak around the internet.
First I wanted to know who founded the app. As it turns out after Twitter shut down Vine last year, the creators of Vine, Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, funded the HQ gameshow app, according to marketplace.org
My next inquiry was how many people are actually playing?
The game show typically has 1-2 million players engaged when it begins. It depends on whether it is a big give-away or a smaller amount of cash per game. Also, as the trivia questions get harder and players are eliminated from the game, the players don’t stick around. The numbers decline quickly as the game gets harder. If players want to stay and watch, they can; but usually don’t.
Third: What the hell does HQ even stand for?
Harley Quinn? Hippo Quails? Hey Q-T?
Players engage in the live chat regularly asking this question and the usual host, Scott Rogowsky, marvels in teasing players about this mystery. He won’t disclose the secretive information. The most reasonable answer I came across was on reddit and the thread suggested that HQ stood for “Hype Quiz.”
My last and not least quizzical question was where is any of this money even coming from?
When players win, there can be multiple winners. So if the game awards $5000 in cash or $50,000 in cash, it will still be split up equally percentage wise among the winners. Most recently there was a big winning opportunity, therefore HQ felt it was necessary to up their game and hire a bigger host; literally. They brought in The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, to host the Trivia show. As always, at the vey end there were multiple winners and the money was dispersed via PayPal. So, once again I ventured out into the wild wild internet on a quest to find out where the money was originating from.
This is where it got weird.
Many fans suggested the app was sponsored by certain brands and that is what pushes certain trivia questions to be asked.
For example, if Bitcoin was a sponsor, Scott could ask
“What type of currency can be utilized in the black market and not be traced back to the spender?”
The answer would obviously be Bitcoin, and then Scott would talk about Bitcoin.
According to Bustle, the app does NOT allow any sort of sponsorships to dictate questions. So Yuspuv and Kroll actually told Bustle there is inherently no intentional brand placement.
Some spectators suggested there was an option to buy into the game, however all of it is free to download and play, so that can’t be true either.
After a little more digging, I found that according to Money Magazine, HQ was backed by “venture capital.” Venture capital is money invested into a new and expanding business, typically with high risk. Although the investors are never named in this article, they are referenced as “deep-pocketed Silicon Valley” investors and they raised $15 million. It sounds like the perfect American dream; investing in a small business and it takes off.
What about asking the question of ethics or of morals or just of, where are these millions coming from with these invisible investors? That’s a big risk to take on an app.
I dug a little more and finally found some information on the monetary inclinations of investors and then it clicked. Of course it would be difficult to find out about investors when the investors aren’t always likable. HQ however, is a new app and wants to continue it’s likeness with fans and players so there hasn’t been much coverage (probably because HR and PR offices are smarter than that). Now I’m sure you want to know who the investor is. Keep reading.
In another article from CNet, Peter Theil is named as the venture capitalist. Peter Thiel also has invested in PayPal and Facebook and go figure, HQ. So what is interesting about Thiel? He’s a techie that’s also a big, big fan of Donald Trump. At the end of this article I will add all the links and you can follow the link to CNet to see Thiel with Trump. Not only this but Thiel is currently under investigation by the FDA for not following regulations and protections for herpes trial medications. Also Thiel is promoting an outdated capital flow theory that apparently hasn’t been recognized as useful in decades, according to Investopedia.
The notable detail here is how players of HQ reacted with a hashtag of #deleteHQ February; similar to the other previous bans that shifted customers choices on apps like Uber.
As the modern day entertainment for the average Joe continues on, I’m very curious to see how much bigger the prizes will get and who else will become involved as an investor. I’m also interested in observing how this pans out with reactions from players. Will the app face an adverse affect because millions of dollars becoming involved that might have to do with politics? Should politics become involved? I’ll leave you with that as food for thought.
Until next time, thanks for reading! Much love.