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Game Dev Tycoon adds DRM — to the virtual games you make

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Meta-game gets even more meta with ‘Pirate Mode’

pirate mode in Game Dev Tycoon
Beginning Pirate Mode in Game Dev Tycoon
Greenheart Games

Hats off to Game Dev Tycoon, still one of the most meta of meta games more than five years after its launch. Its newest update comes with Pirate Mode, and it’s as clever as it sounds.

Game Dev Tycoon, you may remember, was the business tycoon sim that back in 2013 inflicted software pirates’ depredations on those who had actually pirated the game — their projects would always fail and the game would become unplayable. Well, Pirate Mode, available in version 1.6, is for the paying customers, and developer Greenheart Games says it ramps up the difficulty to “ultra-hard.”

The update celebrates the new launch of the game on iOS and Android; Game Dev Tycoon has been available on Windows PC, Mac and Linux since December 2012.

Somewhat like hardcore or survival modes (like Fallout 4) Pirate Mode is unforgiving but it does give the player some tools to fight back. Namely, DRM. Of course, the risk there is that developing and using it may alienate a player base that does not care for such things. Oh, and, now they write you “fan mail” from time to time, and it sounds like that won’t be pleasant, either.

Pirate Mode also requires the user to sell company shares to survive, which of course deviates the mission from making and selling art to just trying to stay alive. “Bankruptcy is likely,” warns the game in the advanced settings tab where Pirate Mode can be activated.

The rest of the update has a slew of events and features that comment on current events — a new platform, the “Ninvento Swap” joins the list you can develop. The PC gets a new icon, with a curved monitor and super advanced PC and mouse.

game dev tycoon new icons Greenheart Games

And, in one of the all-time great bug fixes, the “Women in Tech” event in the game now appropriately boosts the number of women applicants to the virtual studio after it happens. It had been relatively unchanged before that.

The full details are in this post but, like the game itself, it’s neat to see Greenheart Games, and Game Dev Tycoon in particular, chugging along, like one of its players’ many virtual projects that somehow just keeps going. Greenheart’s next project is called Tavern Keeper which is a “fantasy tavern simulator that aims to combine tycoon/sim/management gameplay with a fun setting,” according to a news release. Solid bet that there will be a letter carrier and an unemployed accountant at the end of the bar.