Icelandic Trivia App Off to Winning Start Skip to content

Icelandic Trivia App Off to Winning Start

By Larissa Kyzer

Photo: Screenshot, Teatime Games.

Teatime Games, a startup based in Reykjavík, has won over trivia nerds around the world with Trivia Royale, its new “social gaming” app, reports. Teatime Games is the newest endeavor of CEO Þorsteinn B. Friðriksson, who cofounded the wildly popular QuizUp seven years ago. Trivia Royale builds on the success and basic format of QuizUp, but gives it a new, interactive twist.

Per the Teatime website, “Trivia Royale pits players from across the globe against 1000 opponents in thrilling tests of knowledge to become a ‘Royale’ and earn a coveted spot in the exclusive ‘Royale Lounge.’” Players do so by winning a series of five-question ‘duels’ against individual opponents in their bracket until they are ‘the last man standing.’ (If you lose a duel, you’re out.) This ‘royale’ structure is key to some of the most popular games in the world, says Þorsteinn, pointing to massively multiplayer games such as Call of Duty and Fortnite.

Personalised avatars are also one of the app’s big selling points – the app’s “augmented reality face filter” technology (called Gamesfaces) protects players identities while simultaneously using their camera phones to pick up their actual facial expressions. Paired with chat features, the Gamesfaces technology is intended to make the app more social and personal, or, as it says on the website, “Watching your opponent’s reaction when you deal the winning blow can be priceless.”

Screenshot, Teatime Games.

Teatime was founded in 2017, about a year after QuizUp was sold to a company in the United States. It currently employs about 20 people in its downtown Reykjavík office, not counting the question authors, most of whom are contractors based in the US, and the programmers, who are based all around the world.

Since its founding, the startup has launched several games “with mixed results,” says Þorsteinn. But each one has been a learning experience. “You’re always going up and down in this business,” he remarked. “It’s definitely always a roller coaster.” For now, however, Trivia Royale is riding high. The app was launched on Wednesday, and by Saturday, was already ranked the 17th most popular game in the US and was enjoying even more popularity in Europe. (Indeed, by Saturday, it was the #2 most popular trivia game in the US.)

But Þorsteinn isn’t resting on his laurels and is wary of “declaring victory right away. We’ll let a few days pass,” he remarked cautiously. “These are definitely good indicators and the game’s popularity is promising.”

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