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"Empire TV Tycoon" Review: Manage Your Own Network

Alexandria has been playing video games since the days of the Sega Genesis. She's been writing about video games going on four years.

Kalypso Media has brought management simulation game Empire TV Tycoon to iOS tablets. Previously the indie game was released on Steam after a successful Greenlight campaign and now mobile gamers can get in on the television network tycoon fun.

In Empire TV Tycoon players take on the role of a network executive trying to grow their television station to be the most popular and lucrative.

Starting Your Television Empire

An interesting choice for a management sim theme, Empire TV Tycoon immerses players into the dying industry of broadcast media. You won’t have to worry about YouTube and online streaming media services eating into your profits in this game but you will have to have the freshest content that appeals to the widest audience compared to your rival networks.

There’s a lot to manage from scheduling your everyday content to making marketing deals and creating original content-not to mention the quests you can take on to try and make more money and gain more prestige.

The sheer amount of choice available to players in this little 2D indie simulation is both the game’s strength and challenge. There are many ways to get ahead in Empire TV Tycoon making various strategies viable so that players can have their own playstyle. This also means that there is a lot to learn and get the hang of without a very comprehensive tutorial to teach them to you.

To get started you’ll choose a difficulty level and game mode-arcade, endless or custom—as well as the genre of content your network will focus on. Focusing on a certain genre of content will allow you to have various bonuses and synergies between the advertising you run and the audiences it appeals to. That doesn’t mean you can just air nothing but horror movies though, you’ll have to keep an eye on who is tuning in and what they want to watch or risk losing your viewership.

Know Your Audience

Micro-managing your audience is a key skill in Empire TV Tycoon. A few hours before things air you’ll get a sneak peek as to the demographic that will be watching. There will be between 1-3 different groups tuning in during any block of content and it’s difficult to please everyone so you can “ban” one audience during an hour-long block of scheduling three times a day to optimize your ratings. I bet TV executives in real-life wish they could do that. This means knowing your audience and what appeals to them.

Appealing to your audience includes buying and selling the rights to the correct types of movies and shows, making advertising deals that will reach the right people and news and marketing that’s right for your channel.

Buying and airing news blocks will give you stat perks depending on what programming is being aired and can help manipulate the audience demographic.

Advertisements on the other hand need to reach a certain amount of people over a certain amount of time and if achieved will pay out cash and if not will incur a penalty fee.

At first, figuring out these marketing requirements can be tough at first but once you figure it out, that’s the best way to make money.

Who is watching?

Who is watching?

Choose Your Programming

Choosing what to air comes down to a combination of who is watching and the quality of your content. Quality of content is determined by how “fresh” or novel it is as well as its rating. You can also make your own content from a TV show to a feature film that is written, cast, and filmed in the house and can later be entered into award shows.

The more people like your content and the better you perform in award ceremonies the more fame you will accrue. Money and fame allow you to upgrade your studio-from hiring more workers to having access to better movies and reaching a larger audience—which will hopefully lead to gaining more money and fame.

Ride the elevator from the basement to the restaurant on the top floor.

Ride the elevator from the basement to the restaurant on the top floor.

Pros and Cons


  • The mobile controls can be a little frustrating. Set in a tall building with various floors housing different actions, even on tablets there are a lot of little details that can be difficult to select with the touch controls.
  • Some things require you to drag while others need to be tapped or held down and the process isn’t intuitive.
  • To get around between each floor you’ll have to take an elevator. Waiting for the elevator can be tedious although it may help balance the game by making you take the time to move around instead of having everything you need conveniently clickable from a fixed viewpoint. This also results in not having access to all your stats when you need them.
  • If you need to know your audience demographic or the number for a given time block while choosing the program then you’ll need to memorize it or head back to the office and then back to choose your programming.


Aside from an overwhelming tutorial, less than optimal controls, and a tedious layout, Empire TV Tycoon is a management simulation game that fans of the genre will get hours of enjoyable play out of.

  • Movie buffs will enjoy the myriad of Easter eggs strung throughout the game and references to popular films and shows from the last 50 years.
  • The amount of choice and ability to micro-manage every aspect of your channel allows players to find their ideal strategy, although figuring out the ins and outs of the game can be a challenge.

Check out the Empire TV Tycoon available as a premium game for iOS tablets on the App Store.