If you asked someone to name a trivia app in 2017, they would, with almost 100% certainty, name HQ Trivia. The app designed by the creators of Vine provided free live trivia entertainment to people all around the world, with some exceptions. Certain countries, like North America and England, had their very own hosts.
HQ Trivia was notably one of the few apps in its category that offered real cash prizes to the winners. The app was legit, and people actually received their cash prizes. HQ Trivia rapidly rose in popularity, until eventually, it followed Vine into its downfall. In 2018, the app experienced dwindling numbers of players. In 2020, the company could no longer afford to keep HQ Trivia afloat. The CEO announced that the app would have its final game in February of 2020.
That didn’t last long. Miraculously, HQ Trivia came back with regular live trivia games after its infamous “last game.” It took some time, but it seems like the games are back on. What caused such a rapid decline for HQ Trivia? Let’s talk about it!
Traditionally, the cash prize in HQ Trivia is split evenly among all the winners. When the app started gaining popularity, it received more and more players. Each quiz only had a handful of questions, but they were still rather difficult. Winning the game was not an easy task. In the beginning, only a few people would get in on the prize, so the amount each winner received was more substantial. People started catching on and thinking of ways to hack the system and cheat the game. That’s when HQuack came around.
Originally, HQuack was not designed to take HQ Trivia down, but it might as well have been. To put it simply, HQuack was an app that would find the answers to the questions from HQ Trivia quizzes in real time and provide answers before the clock ran out. The app worked in a way that it would read a given question, and go on to scan Google, Wikipedia, and other websites for the most common answer. The algorithm was going strong, promising an 82% accuracy rate.
Given this information, it is safe to assume that HQuack contributed to the downfall of HQ Trivia. All of a sudden, thousands of people were able to answer all the questions correctly. HQuack rarely boasted a 100% accuracy rate, but it helped significantly. With so many people suddenly being able to answer most questions correctly, the payouts became minuscule.
One day, 9,000 players out of 13,000 total answered all the questions correctly. HQuack got 11 out of 12 questions right that day. The payout per person was not even a dollar. It’s important to note that HQuack was not the only one unknowingly sabotaging the game. Downloading a bot became many people’s solution to the quiz.
HQuack is no longer available online. It seems as though HQ Trivia could finally come off life support. If you’re interested in even more about HQ Trivia’s interesting lifespan, be sure to check out our article about it.
Why is HQuack Gone?
The creator of HQuack, Jake Mor, shared his experience on Medium in 2018. In the short article, he admitted to building the program out of pure curiosity. He thought he had a great idea, and he wanted to bring it to life, so he did. Initially, the program was not even accessible to the public, so it was never a ploy against HQ Trivia.
He shared the program with his curious friends, who, in turn, shared it with their friends. Eventually, the program became so popular and Jake was so impressed that he decided to release HQuack to the masses and share it with the rest of the world. He addressed the obvious ethical concern, saying that he wasn’t too worried, as HQuack rarely got all the questions right. Thus a person relying on HQuack fully could almost never win the game.
Until they did. On the day when HQuack got 11 out of 12 questions right, there were one too many winners. Word got around, and the CEO of HQ Trivia reached out to Jake, asking him to take the app down. The two agreed that the right thing to do, given the ethical concerns, was take the app down. That marked the end of HQuack. Jake used his expertise and newfound audience to work on a new project.
Was HQuack Replaced? Any Alternatives?
HQuack was never replaced by another program nearly as good. Any attempts to replace HQuack have not been successful. No bots ever gained as much popularity as their predecessor. People still try to find ways to cheat. This time, they use their phones’ voice commands feature.
It’s pretty simple. If you have a second phone available to you and it’s an Android, you can ask it questions in real time. You only get 10 seconds though, so you need to phrase your questions in a clever way using keywords. You might get the right answer from Google just in time, if enough people before you have asked the same question. Likewise, using Discord servers to get answers is another option. These alternatives require a lot of skill (kind of like the skill needed to try playing the app on a PC!).
Can You Make Your Own Bot from GitHub?
GitHub is a popular internet platform that enables software developers to build software. At the moment, GitHub houses over 50 million developers and more than three million organizations. With these numbers, you best believe you can build your own bot on GitHub!
It’s not as simple as typing in some code, but it can be done. By a professional software developer, that is! There is a reason why nobody has built an algorithm as strong as HQuack. Nevertheless, you can follow a number of tutorials online, including this one, to build your own bot on GitHub.
Is There a Future for HQ Trivia?
Since the creator of HQuack turned out to be friendly and understanding, HQ Trivia is not threatened by its powerful algorithm anymore. Still, the players never returned and the numbers continue to dwindle. It’s been years and HQ Trivia is still flying under the radar. This really makes you think—was HQ Trivia’s decline the work of the bots after all?
The game has lost a lot of its original appeal. The format of a live trivia game is still fun, but it’s missing the high-paying cash prize element now. Even though some players continue to enjoy the game, nobody takes the cash prizes seriously anymore. Though HQ Trivia is still functioning, it has completely lost its charm. If you’re a lover of trivia and want to play without a high cash prize (or at least some cash prizes), it’s surely still a fun experience (as are quite a number of other trivia apps.)
Do you think it will ever get its players back? What do you think ruined HQ Trivia? Plus, for the info on the rise and fall of another popular trivia app, check out our article on the demise of QuizUp.