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HQ Trivia host envisions 'a whole network of live mobile gaming'

Adriana Belmonte
Finance Editor

HQ Trivia is already popular among millions of users, and there’s more to come from the trivia show app.

Appearing on “Midday Movers” on Friday, HQ host Scott Rogowsky teased more developments beyond HQ Trivia’s current offerings of the primary show, a sports vertical, and a UK edition.

There “are other games in the pipeline,” according to Rogowsky. “Can’t announce them but I do know that we’re close to launching the things. This is just the first brick in the wall of potentially a whole network of live mobile gaming.”

(Photo: Screenshot/Yahoo Finance)

‘It was the office playing’

HQ Trivia is a daily live event that takes place each night at 9 p.m. EDT and features 12 multiple-choice questions that players have 10 seconds to answer. An incorrect answer results in an elimination and whoever wins splits the thousands of dollars of prize money among the other victors.

The game, which averages approximately 600,000 to 1.6 million players per broadcast, is celebrating its one-year anniversary on Aug. 26. To commemorate the occasion, there will be three shows — 8 p.m. EDT, 8:30 p.m. EDT, and 9 p.m. EDT — with prizes totaling $30,000. Rogowsky said the middle show will be comprised entirely of “savage questions,” otherwise known as the hardest questions, that HQ is revisiting.

“We have had thousands and thousands of winners,” Rogowsky said. “It comes down to maybe a little bit of luck towards the end there but there is strategy. If you do play the game regularly, you can start to pick up.”

(Photo: HQ.)

The company has come a long way since its inception last year. When Rogowsky started, he said there were eight people in the first game.

“It was the office playing,” he said. “When we finally broke out of the office in beta, we had maybe 50 people. 100 people. Then it became 200, that became 2,000. And now we have 2.4 million.”

HQ regularly has celebrity guests appear on the show, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Robert De Niro, Ice Cube, and Kristi Yamaguchi.

Rogowsky has gotten to experience his own celebrity moments as well. He was invited to the 2018 Video Musical Awards (VMAs) and participated in the MLB All-Star Game, which he described as “the coolest thing.” His teammates included former Major Leaguers Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, and Cliff Floyd in addition to recording artist Wale, NFL star Josh Norman, and NBA star John Wall.

“That was my dream,” he said. Rogowsky received his own baseball card, which he said carries around in his wallet at all times. Fans now send him the card in the mail, asking him to autograph it which he “happily obliges” to because he did that to baseball players when he was younger.

Scott Rogowsky shows off his baseball card that he received at the 2018 MLB Celebrity All-Star Game. (screenshot/Yahoo Finance)

‘This just came out of nowhere’

Initially, Rogowsky was pursuing a career in the comedy and talk show world.

However, Rogowsky still thinks that his job as HQ host is still in the comedic realm. “I don’t think I’ve given up on that,” he said.

While he was in college, he began doing stand-up comedy and talk shows. In 2008, he started the “Running Late with Scott Rogowsky” talk show. “That was sort of the realm I was going for,” he said. “Talk shows … game shows were never really really on my radar.”

“This just came out of nowhere,” Rogowsky said. He auditioned for the show in April 2017 and rather than moving to L.A. like he initially wanted, he thought to himself, “Let me stick this thing out to see what this app show could do. And now we’ve basically started a whole new genre of media: live, on-demand, mobile entertainment.”

Scott Rogowsky spoke about his pre-HQ career on Midday Movers. (screenshot/Yahoo Finance)

For individuals seeking to embark on a similar career path, Rogowsky emphasized that they will likely get frustrated.

“It’s probably one of the worst businesses to be in,” he said. “There’s no one looking over your shoulder saying, ‘You’re doing a good job’ or ‘You screwed up there.’ You’re on your own and you just have to put your head down and do the work.”

Rogowsky said that instead of worrying about how successful your friends are doing, “put the blinders on and if you’re really determined, do your own work and start your own show.” That is, after all, what Rogowsky did. “No one said, ‘Hey Scott, start a talk show,’” he said. “No one gave me a piece of paper and a manual and said, ‘Here’s how you do it.’ You just do it, and you’ve got to keep doing it.

“I know, it’s a slog and it’s kind of frustrating just to even think about it,” he said. “No one just calls you up and says, ‘We’re going to give you a job.’ You have to be doing the work and getting there to the point where if someone does finally knock on your door, you say: ‘I’m ready for it.’”

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