They say that the viral sensation that burns twice as bright also burns half as long, and that was certainly the case for HQ Trivia—a relatively revolutionary mobile game crossed with a game show that was literally the only thing that the world cared about for two or three months in early 2018. As reported by CNN, the game is shutting down and its 25 full-time employees are being laid off after a potential acquisition fell through at the last minute. Apparently, Intermedia Labs CEO and HQ co-founder Rus Yusupov told employees on Friday that its investors were “no longer willing to fund the company,” but an “established business” had offered to buy it out and was ready to close the deal as early as Saturday, but it didn’t happen and now HQ Trivia will be joining Xbox’s 1 Vs. 100 in the heaven for genius trivia games.
For those who missed out, the basic premise of HQ was that users would log on at specific times for a live trivia challenge hosted by a living human person who would make jokes and interact with the audience and players. If you answered enough questions correctly, you’d have a shot at taking home a share of the increasingly large pool of prize money—as in actual money, even if it wasn’t always a lot of actual money. The gig made original host Scott Rogowsky such a star overnight that he was more or less forced out by the company for daring to be, well, a living human person. He quit HQ when another offer came along (he now hosts a show for Major League Baseball) and the company refused to let him only host on weekends. On Twitter, Rogowsky noted that HQ was killed by a “lethal cocktail of incompetence, arrogance, short-sightedness, and sociopathic delusion.”