Meet the new QuizUp, an addicting trivia game and social network

QuizUp is one of those games you can play for hours before realizing that you've fallen down a rabbit hole and can't escape. It's about to get worse: The popular trivia game just relaunched with a social networking facet that's more Reddit than Facebook.

QuizUp, which launched about 18 months ago and has racked up 33 million users, also rolled out a desktop version of the game and a refreshed design on Thursday. But it's the social features that Plain Vanilla CEO Thor Fridriksson believes will set his game apart from other addicting trivia apps (cough, Trivia Crack, cough).

Gaming with a side of social

The game works by pitting you against a player in some other part of the world (or nearby, if you play around with the app's location, age, and sex filters). Each trivia topic serves up seven questions and you rack up points in the quest to become an expert in one of the game's niches. Before the relaunch, you could chat with other players, and Fridriksson noticed something funny--people were using that feature constantly to make new friends based on their common interests. QuizUp is even responsible for a few marriages.

"Could we try and create a social network based on shared interests in a fun way" Fridriksson mused during a QuizUp demo at our New York office.

The new version of QuizUp attempts to do just that. Now when you tap on a topic, you can either start a trivia game or post to the topic's board. Posts will be surfaced to the top via Reddit-style upvoting. QuizUp will use a combination of algorithms and human moderators to ensure that trolls don't take over. Your QuizUp feed will display activity from the people, topics, and communities you follow, like a typical social media feed.

A different approach

Unlike other trivia games, QuizUp has hundreds of niche topics, so you can answer incredibly specific questions about your favorite baseball game or TV show instead of more general areas like sports and entertainment. Users submit ideas for topics and also help the QuizUp team create questions for existing topics, so you can play the same game dozens of times without seeing the same questions.

"You get people who are much more passionate about these niche topics," Fridriksson said.

QuizUp is a free app, and instead of taking the typical freemium approach by making you pay at every point of the game--which Fridriksson says he finds "intolerable"--the company is working with partners like Google and Coca-Cola to sponsor specific trivia topics. The app's Game of Thrones topic is brought to you by HBO, so QuizUp can tap into exclusive content to use in its questions.

Fridriksson envisions QuizUp as an umbrella for more than just trivia games, but for now he's just waiting to see how the community reacts to the relaunch.


Caitlin McGarry

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