- HQ Trivia, the company whose mobile app streams daily game-shows to thousands of contestants, created a voice-activated game for Google Assistant. "HQ University" challenges players to answer 12 questions of increasing difficulty, although unlike the mobile app, the contestants can't win cash prizes, according to Digiday.
- "HQ University" is aimed at helping players improve their skills at trivia games. HQ Trivia host Scott Rogowsky and chatbot Fredo guide players through the game, which is available on the Google Assistant mobile app, Google Home smart speakers and smart displays that have Google Assistant.
- "HQ University" is mostly a voice-based game, although players who have Android phones or a smart display have special interactions on their screens. HQ doesn't plan to launch on other voice-assistant devices, the company told Digiday.
The combination of HQ Trivia and Google Assistant may help the company reach new audiences and give consumers at least one additional reason to favor Google's virtual assistant over arch-rival Amazon Alexa. HQ Trivia surged in popularity in 2017, but then started to fade as people lost interest or may not have seen much incentive to share a cash prize divided among thousands of other winners. HQ pioneered the genre of live game shows that reach a mass audience on mobile devices, and now faces competition from The Q and Facebook. HQ has sought to boost engagement with an Apple TV app and by adding spinoff games such as HQ Sports and HQ Words.
HQ Trivia's sponsors have included a variety of advertisers since it starting selling advertising a year ago. Warner Bros. last week sponsored a special event to promote "Lego Movie 2." Host Scott Rogowsky appeared as a live, animated Lego character in the game, per Variety. The studio last year paid more than $3 million to promote three movies, "Ready Player One," "Rampage" and "Oceans 8," in HQ Trivia. NBC, Universal Pictures, Google, GM, Nike, Target, JPMorgan Chase and MillerCoors also have paid to work with HQ Trivia.
While Google has the power to reach billions of Android devices with its Google Assistant, the search giant has struggled to grow in the market for smart-home devices. Amazon remains dominant in the U.S. smart-speaker market with a 70% share for its Echo devices that run on its Alexa virtual assistant, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Google Home trails with 24% of the installed base while Apple's HomePod is a distant third with only 6% of the market. About 66 million smart speakers have been sold in the United States. Meanwhile, Amazon yesterday announced plans to buy Eero, a maker of Wi-Fi networking systems, to bolster its smart-home offerings.