Have you ever looked at business management sims, or maybe played Kairosoft’s March to a Million, and wanted a more in-depth game that would let you work with an idol group and run a company? The currently in-development Idol Manager is exactly that sort of game. While the current build is a beta, it still provides the opportunity to find your footing in a sandbox mode. Though, since it is only taking its first steps, it means that there are no tutorials and you are left to your own devices. Fortunately, Siliconera will be spending the next few Saturdays going over Idol Manager to show you how to get started and go over the goings on with our own group, the Clefairies.
Idol Manager’s current gameplay mode starts you off with nothing but a free floor of office space, your avatar as a producer, and ¥5,000,000 that will go faster than you could ever imagine. The only guidance it offers is if you click on the idol icon in the left taskbar, which tells you that you that you must build an office, place your producer in there, hold auditions, then click on your character to begin the idol hiring process. But really, at this point in the game, hiring one person for every possible role is a wise decision. Your producer and a group of singers can’t become a success alone. Even though it is going to take away from that initial investment, you need to hire a choreographer, manager, and music producer. This also means building a dance room for the choreographer, an office for the manager, and a recording studio for the music producer. Then, you should also hire around three idols.
You might wonder why you want to have those three rooms and have those three employees. Well, you need those at minimum to have the manager approach you to help working out policies for the group. This person will help you figure out salaries, which sorts of business proposals to pursue, the general vibe of the group, the group’s image, if you’ll do background checks, what security will be like at events, if dating will be allowed, if their social media should be watched, and such. You also need these three people so you can start working on singles. In order to start really getting a good return from characters performing and promoting, you need to perform certain actions. If you hire three idols and release one single, you can move up from level one Performance to level two, which brings a significant profit.
To do things like create singles, perform shows, and generally create anything, your staff needs to be accruing research points. You can then spend these on things like ideas for song lyrics, kinds of media genres, marketing methods, business contacts, kinds of choreography, and single genres. To make a single, you need to have unlocked at least one marketing method, genre, lyrics type, and choreography type. To make the single, you have to drag it over to each staff member to have them work on their part. You need five singles to unlock and run your first concert, and your very first goal in Idol Manager should be getting to that point while also creating one successful show. (Well, while also constantly performing and promoting when you safely can.)
Now, a concert is going to be expensive. The first one, at the club, is going to be ¥1,000,000. Add onto that the fees for your staff members, the cost for renting space on a floor where you don’t have free rent, the idols’ salaries, and fees to pay for projects, can add up. Making your first show, likely an internet or radio, is a good start. It will be at least ¥10,000 for your first production, but making one with a rotating cast and a focus on hobbies should have a positive percentage from all audiences. This will constantly bring in a profit and help your overall goals. Going with digital singles are smart for the first 10 or so, since you likely won’t have the necessary fanbase to start selling physical copies and turn a profit. (For your first few handshake events, going with about 100-200 copies is wise. Well, provided you have around 1,000 fans.) Also, trying to make sure your manager is looking for advertisements as part of her business plan, so you can continue leveling up promotions and performances are important. Finally, don’t be afraid to take out a loan. One from Fujimoto is best, since it’ll have a task assigned to it in order to get more.
It will take some time to learn to play Idol Manager. In its current state, it can be a little confusing and a lot of information is thrown at you. But, don’t be afraid to experiment or take out loans. Take the time to get invested. Be okay with making some mistakes your first run or two, and you might start seeing how creating singles, working with your group, and getting settled pays off.