HQ’s expansion beyond trivia comes out of the beta tonight, but the question is whether it’s different enough and accessible enough to jumpstart growth for the startup. HQ Words opens to all with today’s broadcast at 6:30 pm on the Pacific within the HQ Trivia app after several weeks of closed beta testing of the Wheel Of Fortune-style game. The launch will be Rus Yusupov’s first big move, now that he has been officially renamed as CEO a week after the tragic death of his co-founder and former CEO Colin Kroll, HQ confirms to TechCrunch.
“Intermedia Labs introduced the world to a category that defines the product, HQ Trivia. Once again, with HQ Words, Intermedia Labs is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary experience that will bring people together in a new way around live mobile video, “Yusupov tells us.” HQ Words is the most interactive experience that we have never had “.
Kroll’s death comes at a difficult time for HQ. His daily player count has dropped since he became a phenomenon a year ago. The novelty has started to wear off, and with so many seasoned trivia whizzes, cash jackpots are often divided among enough people that the winners only get a few dollars. Interrupting your days or nights to play at a certain time can be inconvenient compared to the legions of other games always available. Yusupov, who was HQ’s CEO until Kroll took office in September, will have to figure out what will appeal to casual crossword players and those who flocked to words with friends at Zynga, the kind of disruptive thinking he excelled at. Kroll.
“Colin and I have shared many incredible moments in life in the last 7 years. We embarked on an incredible journey, co-founding two innovative companies together, and the lessons we learned at Vine and HQ will continue to have a great impact on me. Like many relationships, we also had our challenges, but it was during these difficult times that Colin’s kind soul and great heart would truly shine forth, “Yusupov wrote in a statement about his co-founder that was originally published by Digiday in a moving memorial. send. Between building Vine and HQ together, the couple has revamped mobile entertainment, giving millions the opportunity to showcase their ingenuity and creativity. “He had this incredible ability to make everyone feel special. He listened well. He thought deeply. But above all, he cared more about people than work. The driving force behind his innovations was the positive impact they would have on people and the world. Colin’s innovations and inventions have improved the lives of many people and will continue to impact the world for years to come. “
How to play HQ words
In HQ Words, players compete live to solve word puzzles by correctly choosing which letters are hidden. You can find the game within the existing HQ Trivia iOS and Android apps. Host Anna Roisman provides a hint and then hints as the 25-second timer for each puzzle counts down. If the hint is “gemstone” and “_ _ _ m _ _ _” appears, you must tap D, I, A, O and N in any order. Pick three wrong letters or miss completing the words and you lose. You will spin a wheel before the game begins to get a letter that is automatically revealed each round.
Make it through ten rounds and you and other winners will get a share of the cash prize, and the three who solved the puzzles the fastest got a larger share of the jackpot. The startup makes money by selling you extra lives within Words, though it will likely feature sponsored games and product placements like Trivia does to attract marketing dollars. The words will be posted daily at 6:30 pm peacefully after the 6:00 Trivia game, so you can turn them into central time with family and friends.
HQ Words is much more hectic than Trivia. Rather than choosing a single answer, you need to quickly type the letters through a combination of educated and uneducated guesses. That means it really feels more interactive as you don’t sit around for a few minutes with just a single response touch to keep you awake. And because it doesn’t require deep and comprehensive knowledge of trivia, the words can appeal to a wider audience. The spinner also adds an element of sheer luck, as a weaker player who manages to automatically reveal a vowel could have better results than a wiser player who is left with a “Z” as it always seems.
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The concern is that, at its core, Words is still quite similar to Trivia. Both are real-time, elimination-based knowledge games played against everyone for money. They both sometimes feel like they use cheap tricks to eliminate you. A recent Words puzzle asked you to name a loud instrument, but the answer was not “kazoo” but “buzzing kazoo,” something I’m not sure anyone formally called. Given the faster pace of interaction, even small glitches or moments of delay can be enough to lose a round. A beta game of HQ Words earlier this week failed to show the keyboard to some users, prompting a massive takedown. The pressure for HQ engineering to run flawlessly has never been greater.
HQ originally agreed to let TechCrunch interview Kroll about what makes Words different enough to change the startup’s momentum. Yusupov was supposed to be completed after Kroll was sadly found dead last Friday from an apparent drug overdose. He later declined to speak or provide written responses. That is understandable during this time of grief and transition. But HQ will still have to include an answer in its application. Meanwhile, Chinese clones and American competitors have begun to co-opt the idea of the live video contest. Facebook has even created a game demo platform for content creators to create their own.
HQ could benefit from a better onboarding experience that allows people to play a single sample game to get hooked and dizzy until the next scheduled broadcast. Mini-games or ways to play after you get eliminated could increase your total watch time and brand endorsement value. A “silent mode” that silences conversation between turns and distills HQ to just questions and puzzles can make it easier to play while multitasking. Direct versions of Trivia and Words could help HQ feel more intimate, and there is an opportunity to integrate peer-to-peer play like ProveIt’s trivial. And the division beyond knowledge games into more social or arcade-style titles would counter the idea that HQ is just for the brains.
Around the rise of HQ’s popularity, it raised a $ 15 million funding round with a $ 100 million valuation. That seems justified given that the headquarters will reportedly make about $ 10 million in revenue this year. Players are fickle though, and today’s Fortnite may end tomorrow’s Pokémon Go, a flash in the pan going off. Words are a great bridge to a world outside of Trivia, but HQ must evolve not just in iteration.