HQ Trivia, the live trivia gameshow app created by two of Vine’s cofounders, is shutting down less than three years after launching.
“With HQ we showed the world the future of TV,” Yusupov said in a tweet. “We didn’t get to where we hoped but we did stretch the world’s imagination for what’s possible on our smartphones. Thanks to everyone who helped build this and thanks for playing.”
With HQ we showed the world the future of TV. We didn’t get to where we hoped but we did stretch the world’s imagination for what’s possible on our smartphones. Thanks to everyone who helped build this and thanks for playing.
— Rus (@rus) February 14, 2020
The shutdown ends a tumultuous couple of years for the company.
Founded by two of the original creators of Vine, HQ Trivia became a viral hit soon after it launched in 2017. Coming on the heels of popular live streaming services, like Periscope and Meerkat, the app created a new genre of mobile game, which allowed hundreds of thousands of viewers to compete against each other in once-daily live tournaments.
But the app’s early days were plagued by technical troubles and HQ was unable to sustain its status as one of the most popular apps. In 2018, the company’s then CEO, Colin Kroll, died of a drug overdose.
Yusupov took over the CEO role and began experimenting with new game formats and sources of revenue, including subscriptions. The company had introduced a number of new games in recent months, including a music-themed show, HQ Tunes, and a live photo competition, HQX.
But the new formats evidently weren’t enough to sustain HQ and it was never able to reclaim its viral status despite maintaining a loyal base of regular players. HQ Trivia was downloaded 67,000 times last month, compared with its all-time high of 2 million monthly installs in Feb. 2018, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower.
It’s unclear what exactly went wrong that caused HQ’s acquisition to unexpectedly fall through. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In an email to employees, Yusupov said the situation was “one of the hardest things to do in my life.”
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