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Trivia game HQ finally has a competitor called The Q

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More of a bootleg, really

The Q trivia game Image: The Q

It was only a matter of time before HQ Trivia had competitors. The live mobile trivia game show for iOS has skyrocketed in popularity in the four months it’s been around, seeing hundreds of thousands of people log into the twice-daily game to win as much as $10,000. Now, The Q — short for “The Question” — has arrived to try and cement its position as a competitor before HQ makes it to Android.

The Q was founded by Will Jamieson, the CEO of video platform Stream. Originally, Jamieson wanted to collaborate with HQ during some of its earlier growth issues, which saw the game continually lagging and crashing as it increased in popularity. “[We] thought they would be a perfect fit for our enterprise video offering at Stream,” Jamieson told The Ringer. “Tried to get in touch with the CEO and had no success and decided we were primed to compete in the space if we innovated quickly. That’s how it all got started.”

Within two weeks, a functional build had been created for The Q and now it’s available on both iOS and Android. The two games look uncannily similar at face value. The intro music has a similar dubstep-ish vibe, there are 10-second rounds where questions are read off with three answers to choose from — and, yes, there’s a cash prize at the end. (For now, The Q’s offerings are more modest, between $150 and $500 compared to HQ’s max of $10,000.)

It’s almost unfair to call The Q a true competitor at this point, though, because the closer you look, the more it feels like a cheap knockoff. The Q’s production game is not as put together yet: live cues are missed, the graphics aren’t as flashy, and its host Joseph Monahan is, well, inexperienced. “I asked who in the office who wanted to host a game show and Joseph Monahan raised his hand,” Jamieson told The Ringer.

The marked difference in host style is something The Q recognizes. While HQ’s primary host Scott Rogowsky appears in a tailored suit with a classic game show host smile, The Q’s Monahan, in one episode, wears in a bucket hat, Hawaiian shirt, and an air of cocky confidence — like a quiz show version of Jurassic Park’s Dennis Nedry. “I’m done with the suit game,” he says. “I’m coming back, I’m the real me. This is what I am every day.”

There are other differences between the two. The Q tells The Ringer that it will have different play modes that will set it apart from HQ, including a “survivor mode” where gameplay continues until one player is left. It also gives users the option to pick payout in either PayPal or Bitcoin, which means, as our own Adi Robertson points out, “If you pick Bitcoin and hold out a few hours, you’ll be winning anywhere between 10 and a million dollars.”

It doesn’t seem like The Q is trying to replace HQ, but rather, be a coexisting alternative. “Users have their app preferences and we hope that people on HQ will also answer trivia questions on our app,” Jamieson tells The Ringer. “Our goal is to bring an interactive video experience to everyone with a smartphone and reach audiences that HQ has yet to attain.” To this end, The Q’s games will go live 30 minutes after HQ’s every day, allowing people to play both.

The Q might be the first to mimic HQ, but it probably won’t be the last, given the format’s wild success and innovation with original video content. If you really feel like picking sides, though, I suggest a quiz-off at Sweetgreen.