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The Rise and Fall of Social Trivia Games: Lessons Learned

QuizUp: The Ultimate Social Trivia Game

Are you a fan of trivia games? Do you love challenging yourself while competing against other players worldwide?

If so, then QuizUp is the perfect app for you. This social trivia game features a whopping 250,000 questions across 1,000 categories, making it the ultimate platform for knowledge seekers.

How to Play QuizUp

To enjoy QuizUp, you need to download the app and create an account. Once youre in, you can browse through the playable categories and choose the ones that pique your interest.

From sports and history to literature and music, youll find a vast array of topics to choose from. The app connects you with other global competitors, and the point system ensures that everyone remains on equal footing.

Additionally, you can participate in the bonus round to increase your scores. Private messages and forums are also available to enable interaction among players.

QuizUp Origins

Thor Fridriksson founded Plain Vanilla Games, the company behind QuizUp. In the early stages, they developed a game called The Moogies, which was not as successful as they had hoped. This lack of success was, in part, due to unstable user acquisition processes.

However, Apple later featured QuizUp, significantly increasing their visibility and gaining new users. QuizUp went live in 2013, and the response was overwhelming.

Within five days, the game had been downloaded 1 million times. Despite this initial success, there was a decrease in usage after the apps release.

To help solve this, the founders put in place the seed round funding, which raised $1.2 million from angel investors, Tuesday Capital, and Cap-Meridian Ventures.


In conclusion, QuizUp is an exciting platform where users compete against each other to answer 250,000 questions across 1,000 categories. The app encourages interaction through private messages and forums, making it a social enterprise.

QuizUp originated as the brainchild of Thor Fridriksson and the company Plain Vanilla Games, which put forth their resources to establish the app. Though it initially faced challenges, QuizUp has emerged as a premier app in the competitive industry of social trivia games.

QuizUp Launch and Growth

One of QuizUps key features is its match-making design, which pairs users with competitors who share their interests and skill levels. The extensive question and category library allow for a dynamic and challenging game experience that caters to all knowledge levels.

Users can create member profiles that display their rankings and statistics and send text messages to their global competitors. The game has also expanded globally by releasing versions in multiple languages, including French, Italian, and German, to name a few.

The apps community also contributes to the extensive question library by creating their questions. The community-created questions increase the game’s diversity and make them more appealing to users worldwide.

The most significant international expansion came with the creation of a Chinese version. Launched in collaboration with Tencent, the app was made available to 300 million of their WeChat users.

This move provided an enormous opportunity for QuizUp to gain more ground in the Chinese market. Additionally, the games success in the US led to partnerships with big names such as NBC, where they created a game based on the TV show Take it All.

As the company grew, they sought more funding, leading to Series B funding arrangements, totaling $26 million in 2016. QuizUp’s Downfall

Despite its growth and success, QuizUp faced significant struggles with monetization.

The app relied mainly on in-app purchases, which did not generate enough revenue to sustain the game. Mobile gamers were unwilling to pay for apps, and it was difficult to generate income from banner ads and other advertising methods.

A relevant example is FarmVille, which generated $200 million a year but still struggled with in-app purchases. To address the monetization issue, QuizUp partnered with Glu Mobile, whose CEO hoped for substantial profits to cross-sell products to QuizUps massive userbase.

However, the attempt was unsuccessful as the challenges and rewards offered were seen as lackluster by users. Glu Mobiles monetization model proved ineffective, forcing the company to launch an ad-based alternative.

When this, too, failed, they dropped the game entirely. The cost of maintenance for the game finally outweighed its revenue, leading to a shutdown announcement in 2018.

Although users were saddened by the news, the writing had been on the wall. The gameplay was no longer profitable, and the games user numbers had significantly declined.


Even though QuizUp was once a celebrated app in the social trivia game industry, its rise and eventual downfall serve as a cautionary tale for game developers. At its peak, QuizUp had over 100 million users worldwide, but the business model failed to sustain the game over time.

The games discontinuation is a reminder to app developers that they must prioritize monetization strategies in their business plans. Its clear that outstanding gameplay alone is not enough to maintain a business.

Founders Next Attempt and Bankruptcy

After QuizUps dissolution, Thor Fridriksson founded Teatime Games, a company focused on creating social games akin to QuizUp. Their first game, Trivia Royale, aimed to capture the magic of QuizUp and expand on it. Trivia Royale followed the QuizUp playbook, where players choose their categories of interest, compete against others around the world, and climb leaderboards.

The game also incorporated modern mobile capabilities, including use of avatars and customizations. Despite the hype surrounding the games launch, the company faced increasing financial problems, and it became evident that Trivia Royale would not be enough to keep the company afloat.

After less than three years in existence, Teatime Games declared bankruptcy. The forced shutdown of Trivia Royale took the gaming world by surprise as the app garnered a dedicated player base.

Initially, it seemed like an upscale, modern version of QuizUp, offering a similar range of categories that included TV, movies, sports, and history. Trivia Royale also had a considerable library of questions that ensured no two games were ever the same.

However, Teatime Games seemed to have learned little from QuizUps failed business model. Monetization was a significant problem, despite creating exciting features to entice users, including paid customizations and eliminating ads for a fee.

When users refused to pay, the company found itself out of options.

What was once a promising project came to an abrupt end, leaving fans to wonder what could have been if Trivia Royale had generated the revenue required to maintain the game.

However, much like QuizUp before it, this went down as another missed opportunity for a wildly popular trivia game.


For Thor Fridriksson and his founding of Teatime Games, it was a chance to rectify past mistakes, but it quickly turned out to be a cautionary tale. Its another example of an app trying to create a new business model that would make it profitable and sustainable but ultimately failed.

The rapid rise and fall of Trivia Royale remind us that fun gameplay alone isn’t enough to create a profitable app. The fate of Trivia Royale shows that no matter how much potential an app has, its doomed if it cant monetize effectively.

The rise and fall of social trivia games, QuizUp and Trivia Royale, serve as a cautionary tale to app developers who prioritize gameplay over monetization. QuizUp boasted features like an extensive library of questions across categories, a match-making design, and community-created questions, while Trivia Royale expanded on these features.

Despite obtaining vast user recognition for both apps, each ultimately failed on monetization, which couldn’t keep these businesses profitable. Thus, these apps failed to meet financial requirements and were discontinued.

These lessons have highlighted the importance of having an effective monetization strategy in app development.

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