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Saints Row maker Koch Media gets new name it hopes you can pronounce

Deep Silver’s owner is the latest to rebrand in Embracer’s empire

new logo for plaion somewhat resembling onlive Image: Plaion
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Koch Media, the Saints Row publisher whose name few could correctly, or consistently, pronounce, is rebranding. The German-Austrian company is now Plaion.

For the record, “Plaion” is pronounced “play-on,” which makes sense given its primary product (it has a small film business). “Koch” had been called/mentally read/pronounced variously as “Coke,” (like the right-wing political donor siblings); “Kotch” (as in Ed, mayor of New York from 1978-1989); “Cook” (like Jim Koch, co-founder of the Samuel Adams beer brewery); and, less politely, “Cock.”

Koch Media, acquired by Embracer Group in 2018, was named for co-founder Franz Koch, which is pronounced “cough,” a Plaion executive told VentureBeat in an interview Thursday morning. Co-founder Klemens Kundratitz told that the name change isn’t “window-dressing. The signal we’re sending is that we’re on a journey, and it’s good to give this journey a new name, new visual appearance.”

Kundratitz told VentureBeat that the decision was made by Plaion leadership internally and was not mandated from above by Embracer. But, “if they had said they hated the name, we might have reconsidered it,” Kundratitz added.

The name change comes with a new logo, which Kundratitz said was meant to evoke the “play” symbol on the buttons of most electronic devices.

Plaion, as Koch Media, is best known for its Deep Silver publishing division. Deep Silver published GSC Game World’s STALKER: Clear Sky and STALKER: Call of Pripyat in 2007 and 2010 before bringing its first breakout hit, Dead Island, to consoles and PC in 2011.

Koch Media then picked up the Metro and Saints Row intellectual properties, as well Saints Row studio Volition, when the former THQ’s assets were liquidated in 2013. The THQ name was itself acquired by Nordic Games Licensing, which rebranded itself as THQ Nordic in 2016 and, ultimately, Embracer Group (though it maintains a publishing division called THQ Nordic.)

Embracer acquired Koch Media in February 2018. It also bought Saber Interactive in August 2020, Borderlands maker Gearbox Entertainment in February 2021, and Dark Horse Comics at the end of 2021.