QuizUp scores a million downloads in its first week, hits #1 in the App Store

By Erin Griffith , written on November 18, 2013

From The News Desk

Games launch every day, and it's hard to know which ones will take off and which will languish in obscurity. But when they do take off, it's easy to spot.

QuizUp, which launched last week, is one such game. Anecdotally, I suspected as much when my phone buzzed all week with friends (importantly, some non-tech friends) joining and challenging me to play. I even noticed a stranger playing in a Starbucks the other day.

Those anecdotes reflect reality: QuizUp accumulated 1 million users in its first eight days of launching. As of today, 1.4 million people have downloaded the app, and they've played 60 million games.

QuizUp is, perhaps obviously, a quiz game. You challenge your friends to trivia tests on just about any topic. It's very social with messaging and discussion boards. Trivia is not exactly a revolutionary gaming idea -- companies like FreshPlanet have built trivia games for pop culture like SongPop and MoviePop. Trivial Pursuit has an app. You Don't Know Jack is popular, as is IMDb's trivia app.

But QuizUp has topped the App Store charts for the past week. It's currently the No. 1 free app on iOS.

iPhone5-03One reason QuizUp might be taking off is that it's built to be addictive. Answers must be given quickly, so you're fully engaged when you play. The minute you finish a 10-question challenge, you're itching to play another. Of course, QuizUp has the requisite badges for people who are into that kind of thing. (For example, "Three-peat. You've just won three matches in a row." Cool?) And it's got cool charts and graphs that show your performance. (Quantified self!)

QuizUp has 100,000 trivia questions in 300 different categories, ranging from pop culture and myths to science and business.

Beyond that, QuizUp has a sleek design. With a clean look and fun animation, the game looks like it was built by a hip ad agency, not a stodgy board game company.

The company was quick to point out that it beat DrawSomething, which took nine days to get to a million users. But I'd be wary of this comparison -- Draw Something lost users as quickly as it gained them. Hyper-fast adoption can be a double-edged sword, and QuizUp must take pains to keep users coming back long after the hype cycle subsides.

QuizUp is developed by Plain Vanilla Games, an Icelandic company with an office in San Francisco. The game offers in-app purchases of "boosters" of some sort. The company would not disclose how many people have made in-app purchases so far.

Plain Vanilla Games has raised $3.4 million from investors. The latest was a $2.4 million Series A round of funding in April from Greycroft Partners, IDG Ventures, Tencent, BOLDstart Ventures, CrunchFund (which owns shares in PandoDaily), and MESA+. The company's prior seed investors include David Helgason, Paige Craig, BOLDstart Ventures, Olaf J. Olafsson, David Higley, Red Globe, Bootfish, The BAM trust, Cap-Meridian Ventures, Jeff Solomon, and Sooboon Koh.

QuizUp grew out of the success of a similar trivia game which Plain Vanilla Games built specifically for fans of the Twilight franchise called Twilight QuizUp. The company previously released a kids game called The Moogies.