On New Year’s Eve, for example, the game loaded for many users without any questions, leaving Rogowsky, standing against a technicolor wall in a shawl-collar tuxedo, rattling off answers to questions that users couldn’t click on. When the team figured it out, they had to restart the game a little after midnight US eastern time, using the same starting questions. Not exactly how things go down on Jeopardy!

Going forward, HQ’s team will need to ensure that it can support live video for hundreds of thousands of users, and will need to pay for it. (Video-streaming costs have been a massive thorn in the side of Snapchat, costing its parent company billions of dollars and eating into potential profits.)

HQ Trivia, with varying degrees of lag.
HQ Trivia, with varying degrees of lag.
Image: HQ/Screenshot

And then there are HQ’s founders, who may not be ready for primetime. In November, Rogowsky agreed to speak to a reporter at the Daily Beast without running it by Yusupov or Kroll. Yusupov, HQ’s CEO, called the reporter, furious, and told her that publishing the interview would result in him firing Rogowsky. He later apologized, and conceded he was looking for a proper PR rep, but the episode suggested that HQ’s leadership may not be making the sharpest business decisions. (Vine was shuttered, after all, because it didn’t make Twitter any money.) There are reportedly also concerns about the founders’ managerial behavior when they were at Twitter, which may be scaring off potential investors.

Lastly, HQ will need to figure out how to monetize. Right now the company is spending the cash it receives on prizes and hosting costs. It has in the past shown how the game could have space for advertisements between questions, or possibly even sponsored episodes (there was recently an entire week of guest hosts). Advertisers and investors will need to see value in capturing HQ audience’s attention for about 15 minutes twice a day, but that shouldn’t be a hard sell considering it’s conceptually not that different from advertising on a traditional game show. Still, HQ will need to convince those advertisers that it’s more than just a fad.

Is it a fad?

Who knows. Fidget spinners and hoverboards were cool until they weren’t (or maybe they never were) and Pokémon Go was huge until it wasn’t (it’s still popular, though). Apps and memes come and go at a rapid pace, and building something with staying power is beyond difficult.

Still, Jeopardy! has been going strong since the Reagan administration; and even after Philbin left, Millionaire succeeded in US syndication for a decade. Perhaps HQ can be the quiz game for the modern era, a small dose of knowledge for overstimulated, phone-addicted kids looking for a moment’s respite from their Instagram stories. Or maybe it will run out of funding, and Rogowsky will have to give up his Brooklyn apartment and move to Los Angeles like he planned to before the app took off.

For now at least, the future looks bright—almost as bright as that technicolor background. The app’s audience continues to swell; the question is whether they’ll keep tuning in once the novelty wears off.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.