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HQ Trivia shuts down

25 full-time employees reportedly let go as troubled mobile start-up loses investors

Live quiz game HQ Trivia has been closed, along with the company of the same name that produced it.

CNN Business reports the shutdown was announced in an internal email from CEO Rus Yusupov, and will affect 25 full-time employees.

"Lead investors are no longer willing to fund the company, and so effective today, HQ will cease operations and move to distribution," Yusupov wrote.

According to the email, a banker had been hired to find additional investors and a potential acquisition was expected to close on Saturday, but the deal fell through.

HQ Trivia saw strong early success when it launched in 2017, thanks to the popularity of its mobile quiz game that saw players competing against each other live at set times of the day. However, that popularity has waned, downloads have fallen, and the company has failed to monetise the game enough to sustain further development.

It had launched a new product -- HQX, a photo challenge game -- as recently as December.

An undisclosed number of staff were laid off in July 2019. The company was affected by the death of its co-founder and former CEO Colin Kroll in December 2018.

There has also been disruption behind the scenes as staff clashed with Yusupov over his management of the company. Last year, more than half the team tried to oust the CEO.

On Twitter, Yusupov paid tribute to HQ Trivia, writing: "With HQ we showed the world the future of TV. We didn't get to where we hoped by we did stretch the world's imagination for what's possible on our smartphones.

"Thanks to everyone who helped build this and thanks for playing."

Sensor Tower tells GamesIndustry.biz HQ Triva was estimated to have racked up 15.2 million downloads in its lifetime. The majority of these -- 12.3 million -- occured in 2018, while last year's total instals only amounted to 1.1 million. Downloads for the first year were estimated at 1.6 million.

Additionally, user spending peaked in Q4 2018 and has been declining every quarter since. HQ Trivia generated $2.2 million in revenue last year.

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