Cheat sites and AI arrive to take the fun out of HQ Trivia and other quiz apps

Andy Boxall

In App Business. February 14, 2018

Cheating players are affecting the win-rate on mobile quiz games such as HQ Trivia, where real cash prizes are offered to winners. The game gives 12 multiple choice questions to players 12 times per week, and winners each get a share of the cash pot.

However, sites including the now defunct HQuack help players cheat by using various methods to provide the correct answer. How much do these sites affect the game and its winnings? According to a report by ArsTechnica it’s quite a lot.

At the end of January, 81 players out of the total 798,796 each won $30.86. However, a week later in February 786,883 people played and 9,046 all answered the 12 questions correctly, winning a grand total of $0.23 each.

The artificial intelligence system used by HQuack had also correctly answered all of the February game’s questions. At the time of the January game, the site wasn’t widely known, and therefore hadn’t been adopted by players. The difference in the amount of winners, and the money they take home, is considerable.

In the case of the HQuack site, its accuracy is at 82%, which isn’t enough to swing every game; but enough that on occasion it will correctly answer all 12 questions and produce results like that above. The site has since been removed, after the creator told ArsTechnica if it began to affect the HQ Trivia game he would take it down.

Other examples exist, and when real money is at stake in a game, more people will be inclined to use services like it.