- Late-night television host Samantha Bee launched a "This Is Not a Game: The Game" app on Wednesday, which ran into technical difficulties within minutes of going live during the airing of TBS's "Full Frontal With Samantha Bee." The HQ Trivia-like app crashed as mobile users downloaded the app 50,000 times in the first 24 hours of its debut, Variety reported.
- The show created the app to motivate viewers to go to the polls in the upcoming midterm elections, as 54% of its audience isn't currently registered to vote, per Wired. Players can win part of a $5,000 cash prize for correctly answering a quiz about the U.S. political system.
- "Full Frontal" quickly acknowledged the technical difficulties on Twitter and told fans to upgrade the app to the latest version. The game was the second-most popular trivia app in Apple's App Store on Thursday, and ranked No. 190 among all free iPhone apps, according to data firm Sensor Tower.
The "Full Frontal" app's technical difficulties likely were hard to predict before the game went live, and again demonstrate the importance of running tests to avoid such crashes. Whether the app actually motivates people to vote in the midterm elections also remains to be seen. While gamification can work to motivate people to take thousands of more steps in a daily exercise routine, getting them to go to the polls is a daunting goal, especially during midterm elections that typically have lower turnout, according to Pew Research.
However, the app's technical difficulties are unlikely to hurt the "Full Frontal" brand, and the show responded with its trademark humor. Samantha Bee appears to have weathered a previous controversy by apologizing for calling President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka a slur. State Farm and Autotrader announced they would no longer advertise on the show after the remarks, but the latest fumble likely won't have similar lasting damage.
HQ Trivia, the mobile trivia game show started in August 2017, has been a major success, even as downloads have lost momentum. Downloads fell to 560,000 in July from more than 2 million in February, according to Sensor Tower. To maintain viewer interest, HQ Trivia has run special shows sponsored by brands like Warner Bros. and Nike that feature bigger cash prizes and incentivize players to return to the game. Target is sponsoring HQ Trivia's show on Sept. 17 during the Emmy Awards broadcast. Unlike past games that split the grand prize among finalists, the $100,000 cash prize will go to a single player left standing as host Scott Rogowsky continues asking questions until there is one player remaining. Normally, each game has 12 questions.
The success of HQ Trivia has led to numerous copycats, such as Samantha Bee's app. Facebook in June gave content creators new tools to make their videos more interactive, including polling for Facebook Live and on-demand video and gamification for Facebook Live in a move that appeared to take aim at HQ Trivia and ride some of its success.