A week after HQ Trivia shuttered, players still don’t have their prize money

HQ Trivia

Players of the once-popular live game show app HQ Trivia are still waiting for their prize money one week after the company announced its plan to shut down

Digital Trends reached out to over a dozen HQ Trivia players via Twitter direct message and found not one had received money they won while playing the game. 

The company announced it was shutting down last Friday, but but a few days later, on Wednesday, CEO Rus Yusupov tweeted: “We have found a new home for HQ, with a company that wants to keep it running. All employees, contractors and players are top priority. Severance will be paid and you will be able to cash out.”

4/ So I spent the weekend on the phone finding a new buyer and do right by everyone. We have found a new home for HQ, with a company that wants to keep it running. All employees, contractors and players are top priority. Severance will be paid and you will be able to cash out.

— Rus (@rus) February 18, 2020

It is unclear when HQ Trivia plans to return or who bought it. HQ Trivia did not immediately return request for comment from Digital Trends on when players can expect to see the cash prizes they accrued in the game. 

After news broke of HQ Trivia’s plan to shutter, players scrambled to the app to cash out their earnings. Many were faced with error messages. 

Eventually, over the weekend, players were able to use the cash out function on the app, but did not see the money filter into their connected PayPal accounts. Players said cashed out prize money typically found its way to their PayPal accounts within 48 hours when the app was functional. But now, over a week since, many are not expecting prize money to ever come. 

“No money yet,” said Jean Henegan via Twitter DM. “I’m not holding out much hope at this point.”

Henegan is owed $13.85. 

Christy Hawley said she cashed out her $33.80 once news broke of the app’s closure, but assumes she is “out of luck.”

Twitter user @Denifor3 said she and her husband cashed out last Friday, but still have not seen their collective $25.

Once users found there to be no prize money from HQ Trivia in their PayPal accounts, many went back to the app to find they now had a $0 balance. 

The app launched in 2017 and gained a massive following the next year by summoning users twice a day for 15-minute video segments and the chance to win cash prizes by correctly answering questions. Paired with an eccentric comedic host, Scott Rogowsky, the addictive trivia game easily topped the App Store charts. 

Rogowsky, responding to the game’s collapse, said on Twitter: “HQ didn’t die of natural causes. It was poisoned with a lethal cocktail of incompetence, arrogance, short-sightedness [and] sociopathic delusion. Saddened to see it finally succumb.”

HQ didn’t die of natural causes. It was poisoned with a lethal cocktail of incompetence, arrogance, short-sightedness & sociopathic delusion. Saddened to see it finally succumb; sadder still for the good & talented staff abruptly left in the lurch after being gaslit and lied to.

— OTT's Scott Rogowsky (@ScottRogowsky) February 15, 2020

Rogowsky’s comments were not the first piece of criticism the company faced. Internal troubles — combating executives, delayed payouts, the revelation of controversial entrepreneur Peter Thiel as a backer, and millions of once die-hard users quickly dropping off — made headlines just one year after it launched. Co-founders Yusupov and Colin Kroll also founded the six-second streaming platform Vine. Kroll died of an overdose in December 2018.

Since Yusupov’s tweet, HQ Trivia’s Twitter bio now reads “BRB” — be right back.

So perhaps players will be seeing prize money soon. But they won’t know when. 

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