It’s a combination of trivia and shopping.

Playing games is the reason smartphones were invented. Whether tuning out your spouse or sitting on an airplane in an extreme state of boredom, smartphone games have rescued everyone on earth at least one time. Here’s the problem: one can only play Candy Crush so many times before realizing 100 hours of your life is gone, which in turn leads to questioning every decision you’ve ever made. So how to make a game that doesn’t leave you feeling worthless, empty, and void of progress? That’s the question GameIt is striving to answer.

“I saw this emergence of trivia games and I thought can we make a game of skill — it’s not a lottery, it’s not gambling because those are illegal in apps — where you play and if you’re really good, you win an item,” GameIt CEO Bryce Johnson told Beehive Startups in a recent interview. “It’s a combination of trivia and shopping.”

While running on a treadmill in France, Johnson came up with the idea of GameIt, an app that allows people to partake in the fun of a trivia game while also having a chance to win real, legitimate prizes.

Now I know what you’re thinking: nothing good has ever come out of France. Though that may be the case historically, GameIt blends together elements of education, brand-engagement, and good old-fashioned fun to create an app everybody can enjoy.

“I want to create an awesome company,” Johnson said. “We launched in December and in one month, we’ve grown to over 8,000 users. It’s probably even higher now.”

The concept is fairly simple — users either purchase coins or earn them by answering questions about advertisements. Coins can then be used to play individual trivia games where the highest point total wins the prize. The faster you answer questions — ten second limit per question — the higher the point total. Worried your brainpower won’t stack up against the nerds of the world? Don’t be.

“We have 15-year olds that are answering chemistry questions and they know enough that they are winning things,” Johnson said. “I wanted it to be if you know enough, you can do well and win something. It’s not just the Ken Jennings of the worlds — the brainiacs — that win everything.”

Usually, stealing is bad. Nobody likes it when their heroin-addicted friend breaks in and steals their television. With GameIt, stealing is approved — nay, encouraged. If you’re playing against somebody with an insurmountable points lead, do not fear. Use your coins to steal the lead, but be careful — you must answer one question correctly or lose your coins. If your lead is stolen, you then receive the coins risked by the opposite party.

“We’re the first retailer that allows stealing,” Johnson said. “We had a GoPro up, in the last 15 minutes of the game, there were over 15,000 steals.”

With trivia topics — internet slang words, Friends, state flags, pop culture — that cover every conceivable angle, GameIt is designed for all ages and sexes, though stay-at-home moms and families currently comprise the majority of users. By harvesting information gleaned from the question process, GameIt is then able to offer value to companies whose products are won within the game.

“We reach out to brands and say, ‘If you really want to get people aware of your product and understand what you’re doing, then give us your product and an advertisement, we’ll give them away,’” Johnson said. “Then we charge them for time, views, and questions answered. We’re pulling in a lot of demographic data about the users; who they are, where they live. So it’s really a marketing tool.”

GameIt also offers a valuable tool to brands, the ability to create awareness and in turn convert random people who have never heard of them into consumers.

“What’s the conversion?” Johnson asked. “That’s the most important thing. If we had 6,000 people play a specific game and then we send an email to those people and 10% convert and buy it, that’s great for that brand. Everybody just became well aware of them.”

If you think GameIt sounds like a scam, their Facebook page is littered with testimonials saying otherwise. Ranging from Kindle Fires to $600 grills, the prizes won on GameIt are tantalizingly good. Don’t be a weasel and horde all the booty — share with your friends and let others partake in the question-answering, prize-winning fun.

“I think this is an eBay-esque platform,” Johnson said. “There was a gamification element to eBay for a long time, but that’s been lost a little bit with the buy it now portion. But I think there was a lot of fun around the gaming part. I know there are plenty of people who don’t want to wait around and steal online, but I also know there are plenty that love doing it.”

No more pointless gaming. No more bragging about how you’ve reached level 300 on Candy Crush, then slowly realizing what this says about you as a person. No more playing Call of Duty online and getting into arguments with young teenagers, or destroying your nephews and nieces in MarioKart. Go play a game that celebrates the fun of the gaming community, sharpens your mind, and lets you win tangible things. Go GameIt.

Published 2/10/2015