The hit quiz app taking the world by storm

Asking the questions: Comedian Scott Rogowsky presents the original US version of HQ Trivia.

Is trivia good for us? Valued at $100 million, with millions of daily players, HQ Trivia is the new social quizzing app sensation. Some have even called it the future of television.

Which of these television shows did NOT feature one of the six lead actors from Friends?

A: NYPD Blue B: Sex and the City C: Cheers

That was the final question in yesterday’s 3pm edition of HQ Trivia — the smash hit game show app. Did you get the answer right? If so, you would have won a cash prize had you been playing along.

Every day at 3pm and 9pm, the live interactive quiz is broadcast to thousands of people via the app — MC’d by a peppy, joke-cracking host who asks players 12 general knowledge questions. Get them all right, and a share of the cash jackpot is yours.

“We have ambitions to essentially build the future of TV,” HQ Trivia’s co-creator, Rus Yusupov, says.

Yet despite its futuristic ambitions, HQ Trivia draws on a quizzing tradition that has a colourful history.

Radio quiz shows were first introduced by the BBC in the 1930s. The outbreak of the Second World War gave the contests a practical function. For example, Air Raid Wardens’ Training Bee tested contestants’ knowledge of gas mask procedures.

And as television game shows adopted extravagant forms like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, significant riches suddenly became available to the brainiest quizzers.

Does all this mean that trivia is good for us?

No-brainer

Not necessarily, some say. Memorising facts should not be mistaken for intelligence. Rather than glorifying trivial knowledge, we should encourage people to think deeply. It is better to be an expert on one thing than to have a superficial understanding of many.

Quizzing has secret powers, others respond. As academic Ian Bogost argues, pub quizzes and trivia games “emphasise how broad, shared knowledge helps hold communities together.” Furthermore, having a wide general knowledge can boost critical thinking skills.

You Decide

  1. Do you enjoy quizzes? Why/why not?

Activities

  1. It’s time to write your own HQ Trivia quiz! Using your own general knowledge, write down 12 questions, with three answers each. Test your classmates. Is anyone able to get all your questions correct?

Some People Say...

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

Albert Einstein

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
HQ Trivia recently secured $15 million in a round of funding, taking its overall value to approximately $100 million.
What do we not know?
How the app will evolve. Currently, its prizes are funded by money paid to the company by investors. Its founders are experimenting with new possible revenue streams, which may include partnerships with brands or advertisers.

Word Watch

Right
The correct answer is… B: Sex and the City.
General knowledge
Questions are taken from an extremely broad range of topics. Yesterday’s quiz included questions on Franz Kafka, English football and Second World War pipelines.
Cash jackpot
When split among the winners, some jackpots are worth just a few pounds each. However, the biggest UK winner so far received £8,000.