How The HQ App Brought in Users: then Cashed in

How The HQ App Brought in Users: then Cashed in

Baker Tuthill, Reporter

A little over a year ago, the HQ app was released on the app store. It featured 12 questions of trivia getting progressively harder. If you got one question wrong, you were out for the day. But if you made it all the way to the end, you would split a cash prize with all the other winners.

The app wasn’t an instant hit. It’s early stages had smaller prizes like $1,000 (which sounds like a lot but when it gets divided between about 100 people…) and not many people played. But HQ knew what it was doing. It set in place a system where you could get one extra life (a way to stay in the game longer) by getting someone else to create an account. At the same time, HQ started raising it’s prizes… and not by small amounts. The largest game yet has featured a $250,000 prize, allowing some people to make fairly large amounts of money.

Image Courtesy of: Boing Boing
HQ’s Logo


HQ was soaring in players, getting up to 2 Million in one session. And the prizes just kept getting bigger. At this point, the question wasn’t how HQ got so big. It was how it made it’s money. There were little to no detectable questions that could be sponsoring franchises. Sure, there were a few about movies and video games, but these were all question inputs by HQ users. There wasn’t even an option to buy extra lives. Where was the profit? Then came the first signs that HQ was securing it’s place as an advertiser. First, celebrates appeared on the app. Then “movie nights” started arriving. These were trivia about specific movies. Hmm…. were companies paying to have their movies on HQ?

Cashing In

As it turns out, yes. HQ signed deals with Warner Bros and Nike. In addition, those extra lives are finally purchasable… for $4, that is. So it seems clear, in that respect, that HQ is making money. In addition, there are adds for HQ trivia nights of Spongebob, Mean Girls, and other movies as often as three times a session. These don’t advertise a product, but rather a session of HQ, which is still an advertisement. Then, when that session arrives, it attracts some people and is an advertisement.

You see how this works? HQ can only win. Not only do these nights earn them more players, they make them money. Man. Sound like a good deal to me. And what companies can resist having their movies advertised to millions of people every day? Not many, I am sure.

So HQ brilliantly attracted millions of players, then cashed in on the viewership. We aren’t sure if HQ is a profitable company yet, as it has borrowed millions from Adventure Capitalists (no, not old game app. Investors). As the trivia goes on, will HQ continue to attract viewers, or will it slowly die out? We can’t say for sure, but best wishes for the company; they’ve come too far to go down now.