Bigger is better seems to be the mantra at HQ Trivia these days. The popular live trivia game app has been partnering with corporate sponsors like Nike and Warner Bros. to give away larger prizes in recent weeks and, on Wednesday afternoon, HQ is enlisting Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to give away its biggest cash prize ever: $300,000.
The game show app streams daily trivia games to users' mobile devices and players try to answer at least a dozen multiple-choice questions for the chance to win a share of a cash prize that has ranged from $1,000 to $250,000 in past games. With the number of daily players now regularly reaching into the millions, most winners usually only claim a handful of dollars, but some have walked away with thousands. Earlier this year, a video of a woman jumping for joy after winning $11 went viral, while a man who won $6,000 in one sitting recently told CNBC that playing HQ is "just a habit I do for 10 minutes at the end of my work day," so not a bad payoff.
Recently, a 25-year-old man told CNBC Make It that he won over $20,000 as his share of the live trivia show's $250,000 jackpot on March 28 despite the fact that he completely guessed on 80% of the questions.
HQ Trivia announced on Monday that Johnson will take over hosting duties for Wednesday's afternoon edition of the game show, which will start at 3:45 p.m. ET and will feature a $300,000 jackpot that will be split among the game's winners. (The number of winners vary for each game, with a dozen splitting last month's $250,000 prize.)
Wednesday's $300,000 prize comes as part of a sponsored partnership between HQ and Warner Bros., with Johnson promoting his latest film with the movie studio, the action movie "Rampage," which is based on a 1980s arcade game and officially opens in theaters on Friday. "Ready Player One," the sci-fi film directed by Steven Spielberg that hits theaters March 29. The deal with Warner Bros. is funding HQ's largest-ever jackpot, just as it did with the $250,000 game last month that promoted the studio's sci-fi movie "Ready Player One."
The sponsorship deal with Warner Bros. is worth $3 million, according to AdAge, and it includes the promotion of three separate films being released by the studio.
Johnson, who will be joined by regular HQ host Scott Rogowsky during Wednesday afternoon's game, tweeted on Tuesday about the excitement in his inner circle over his HQ hosting gig. "I've never been texted more about something than me giving away $300,000 this Wednesday," Johnson joked on Twitter.
Also in March, HQ partnered with Nike for another sponsored edition of the live trivia show that saw four winners split a $100,000 prize while also walking away with free pairs of limited edition HQ-themed Nike Air Max 270 sneakers.
It remains to be seen how HQ's fans will react to changes like the promotionally themed questions, especially considering the faddish nature of popular gaming apps along with the fact that HQ has already courted controversy. The app angered part of its user base recently by raising money from controversial tech billionaire Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, sparking the spread of the hashtag "#DeleteHQ" on Twitter in February.
But the move is a clear step into the mainstream for HQ, which launched in August 2017 and quickly built a massive following, with its daily players growing from the hundreds of thousands last fall to reach a then all-time high of over 2 million for an edition of HQ Trivia that streamed live the night of the Academy Awards on March 4. Last month's show where HQ gave away $250,000 attracted a whopping 2.38 million viewers, setting a new record for the app.
In February, the app also landed a coup in the form of free ad time on NBC just before the start of Super Bowl LII, fueling speculation about a potential partnership between HQ and NBCUniversal.
Earlier this year, HQ raised $15 million in funding that valued the startup at $100 million. Until this week, HQ relied on that money from investors to supply its daily jackpots, but an influx of money from corporate sponsors would change that while also likely meaning that fans will continue to get chances to win bigger and bigger prizes.
The trivia show airs every day at 9 p.m. ET, with additional afternoon editions on weekdays.
This is an updated version of a previously published story.
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC and CNBC.