Koch Media got so sick of the jokes it's changed its name

Koch Media has announced that dick jokes are out, and an equally difficult to get right name is in: the company is now known as Plaion. Ply-on? No you silly fool: it's supposed to be 'play on'. Then again, Koch was supposed to be pronounced more like 'kotsch'.

The publisher formerly known as Koch was founded 28 years ago, and the biggest change in recent history was it being acquired by then-THQ Nordic (now Embracer group) for $150 million in 2018. Plaion currently has over 2300 staff, 1600 of whom are developers, and owns a bunch of studios including the UK's Free Radical Design. 

Managing director Klemens Kundratitz spoke to gamesindustry.biz about the rebrand, and deployed some top-tier management speak about the change. He did eventually get around to admitting that Koch was "sometimes difficult for some people to pronounce" though not as bluntly as he did in this wonderful video.

There's a lot of talk about the symbolism and styling of the Plaion logo which I was going to leave out but, honestly, it's pretty funny. Per the press release:

"Along with the new name comes a new logo that represents the interactive play button, the abstract 'P' inside as representation of our new name, and the ribbon symbolizing the embracing and connecting role we as PLAION have as a leader in the digital entertainment ecosystem."

The MD unsurprisingly says not much is really changing in terms of strategy: Plaion's goal is to sell a lot of videogames. It is also branching out thanks to the establishment of its own film studio, but games are apparently 9/10ths of the business.

"We're a very transformed company and we have an ambition on a global scale to continue to grow," says Kundratitz, "both on the content creation side and the sales side, as well as diversifying into different forms of entertainment. We're ready to give ourselves a new look, a new style, and open a new chapter."

Industry watchers will be sad to see the disappearance of such a longstanding brand, but players won't notice a thing: Koch Media was always B2B focused, with its consumer-facing side operating as distinct labels such as Deep Silver.

"All our consumer-facing publishing labels—Deep Silver, Prime Matter, Ravenscourt, Milestone and Vertigo Games—will stay the same," says Kundratitz. "I think it's easier to transition from Koch to Plaion in a B2B environment."

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."