Art & Culture

HQ Trivia’s Ex-Host Talks About The Company’s Shut Down

Claire Miles
Mar 09, 2020

Loads of people spend their leisure time playing virtual games on their phones. And in the age of apps, there is certainly no lack of options. One of those apps was the live gameshow app HQ Trivia, which was perhaps one of the most popular in its genre. Unfortunately, the company ran out of money on February 14th. They laid off its 25 employees and shut down, but not before they went out with a bang. The farewell game was a wild disaster in which the hosts cursed, sprayed champagne and begged for new jobs. HQ Trivia was in talks of being acquired but the buyer pulled out last minute and investors weren’t willing to pour any money into the sagging game show. It had paid off $6 million in prizes from its $15 million-plus in venture capital since launching in late 2017.

HQ Trivia was in a steady decline since February 2018 when it peaked at over 2.3 million concurrent players to just tens of thousands recently. Why did it go downhill? There are quite a few reasons: the games became repetitive, the prize money was split between too many winners, co-founder Colin Kroll passed away, original host and “quiz daddy” Scott Rogowsky was let go, the startup’s staff failed in an attempt to mutiny and oust the CEO, and layoffs.

The beloved ex-host Rogowsky railed against the company’s leadership on Twitter, one day after CEO Rus Yusupov announced the company would shut down. “HQ didn’t die of natural causes. It was poisoned with a lethal cocktail of incompetence, arrogance, short-sightedness & sociopathic delusion,” Rogowsky tweeted Saturday. “Saddened to see it finally succumb; sadder still for the good & talented staff abruptly left in the lurch after being gaslit and lied to.” Known to fans as “Quiz Daddy,” Rogowsky left HQ last April to join the sports streaming service DAZN.