From Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga to Draw Something, Clash of Clans and SongPop: the mobile gaming world has had its fair share of crazes since Apple and Google launched their app stores in 2008.
Now you can add Trivia Crack to the list.
The game has only just launched in the UK, but it’s already hugely popular in the US and Latin America, with more than 100m downloads so far and currently around 800k more every day.
So what is Trivia Crack, and why is it proving so popular? It’s the work of Argentinian developer Etermax, which launched the game in its home continent in late 2013, before adapting it for English-speaking players in mid-2014.
The game – currently available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone – is a trivia quiz where players answer questions in subjects including entertainment, art, science, history and geography, chosen by spinning an on-screen wheel.
As they answer more questions, they unlock virtual characters, while competing head-to-head against other players. It does for trivia what Draw Something did for scribbling and SongPop did for music, essentially.
Trivia Crack is free to download, and makes its money from a blend of advertisements and in-app purchases of spins, coins and boosts to the number of “lives” a player has. They can also choose to buy a premium version of the game that removes the ads.
Etermax is hoping that its localised questions – the new UK version of Trivia Crack includes questions on Prince George, Cheryl Cole and other local figures – will prolong its popularity around the world.
The company is also tapping its community of players to keep the questions fresh: they can submit their own and rate those of other players, as well as translating questions into their own language. Trivia Crack currently has around 1m active questions according to Recode, with 2,000 more added every day.
This is not the first trivia game to take the mobile apps world by storm. Icelandic developer Plain Vanilla had a big hit with its QuizUp game in 2013, and raised $22m of funding that December to continue growing.
By June 2014 it had 20 million registered users, but Trivia Crack’s growth puts that in the shade. On Apple’s US App Store, for example, Trivia Crack is currently the most popular free app, the premium version is the most popular paid app, and they are respectively 11th and 12th on the top-grossing chart.
QuizUp has dropped out of the top 200 in all those charts, which illustrates the dangers of mobile gaming crazes – players can tire of them.
Draw Something and SongPop’s fleeting moments in the spotlight offer further warnings that while Trivia Crack may be popular now, Etermax’s challenge is to ensure it’s not a different story a few months down the line.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Monday 26th January 2015 11.45 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010