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How Koch Media is ensuring classic brand comebacks are worth the wait

first_imgHow Koch Media is ensuring classic brand comebacks are worth the waitFrom Shenmue III to TimeSplitters, CEO Klemens Kundratitz discusses the publisher’s upcoming line-upJames BatchelorEditor-in-ChiefThursday 14th November 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleKOCH MediaKoch Media / Deep SilverIt’s approaching two years since THQ Nordic acquired Koch Media and its Deep Silver publishing label for $150 million. Yet the company has managed to retain its own brand identity and a decent level of autonomy, rather than being wholly absorbed into its ever-expanding parent.The German-Austrian firm has even been making its own acquisitions — most recently, Italian racing specialist Milestone Interactive. Kingdom Come: Deliverance developer Warhorse Studios, and Australian publisher 18point2 also come under the Koch Media umbrella.CEO Klemens Kundratitz tells GamesIndustry.biz that this structure is “not about the brand primarily” but what makes most operational sense for the THQ Nordic group — now the Embracer Group — as a whole. “We are fit for purpose as a developer, publisher, distributor, so why change it?” he says. “Our friends on the THQ Nordic side of things are also fit for purpose to make their games, and we distribute those games, so there’s collaboration going on.Klemens Kundratitz, Koch Media”Our strategy is an active acquisitions strategy, not a merger strategy. Warhorse, 18point2 and now Milestone — they are all good companies with good leadership and we want to empower them rather than integrate them.”Currently celebrating 25 years in the business, Koch Media is still enjoying significant success. The publisher launched Metro Exodus earlier this year and is not only “very happy with the commercial results so far”, but also undeterred by the backlash over its Epic exclusivity deal.Next week, Koch Media will launch Shenmue III, the long-awaited return of the acclaimed series. Hopes are high for the game, but there’s no denying the pressure that comes with such an anticipated launch. Kundratitz assures that, “We’ll certainly do our best to give it the best chance to succeed.””It’s been a long development, there’s a large community of Kickstarter supporters and fans that love Shenmue — and they all have their own vision of what it should be,” he says. “To fulfil everyone’s vision of what it should be is not always easy. But I would say [director Yu] Suzuki-san is right at the helm. He’s a visionary, he’s running the studio and making the game according to his own beliefs and for the fans. As a publisher, we can only support him in every way we can in order to bring out the game in the best possible light.”We moved the release date from the end of August to November to give him more time to polish, to make it a high quality experience from the get-go. Then the fans will decide. From a timing point of view, I’m not too concerned because this year is a light year on big releases. Compared to last year and even to what’s coming out next year, I think we’re in for a lighter Christmas period.”He’s not wrong. Since E3 there have been concerns that Q4 is looking a little sparse in terms of tentpole releases. While you have your annual staples like Call of Duty and FIFA, others such as Forza and a military shooter from Electronic Arts are missing. Meanwhile, Bethesda delayed Doom Eternal into March and Ubisoft’s only major release was the disappointing Ghost Recon Breakpoint — to name just a few examples. Surely the gaps in the release slate present a prime opportunity for publishers such as Koch.”It’s certainly not a bad time to launch a game like Shenmue in November,” says Kundratitz. “We’ll give it our best shot.”Despite being in development even longer, there’s still no sign of another important Koch release: Dead Island 2. The game was originally being worked on by the series’ creators at Techland, before that team moved onto Dying Light. It passed to Yager Developments in 2012, to Sumo Digital in 2016, and earlier this year to Dambuster Studios, the Koch-owned developer staffed by former Free Radical and Crytek employees.”We see this business as a digital and physical business, rather than a business which has a digital future and a physical past” Has such a tumultuous history, and the inherent delays, damaged expectations for Dead Island 2 at all?”My favourite question,” Kundratitz laughs. “Look, Dead Island is a very important brand for us and we’ve got to get it right. It’s just a testimony of our dedication to get it right. “It’s a great story to tell everyone that it’s on its third studio, but we like to be judged on the end result and we’re really confident that when it comes out it’s going to be a kick-ass zombie game. We’ll certainly give it all our power.”Despite the split over the original iteration of Dead Island 2, Koch still retains close ties with Techland — in fact, it’s distributing Dying Light 2 when it launches next year. But Kundratitz insists there’s no conflict of interest here.”It would be conflict if we were launching on top of each other,” he acknowledges. “But that’s not going to be a problem.”At Koch, we are obviously a distributor as well as a publisher. Our business partners know we act sensibly. We have very long-term relationships with people like Square Enix, Codemasters or Sega. If there was a conflict of launches, we would make our influence known to ensure that every product gets our full attention. We will try and somehow coordinate within our powers, not only so our organisation’s bandwidth is there for every single big launch, but also so that gamers are not seeing two racing games in the same month. That’s not in anybody’s interest.”Dead Island is not the only Koch brand making a comeback. In August, the company confirmed a new Saints Row game was in the works, the first since Saints Row IV launched back in 2013. Fans of the franchise had the ill-fated Agents of Mayhem to plug the gap, but given how that title struggled, Koch is again under pressure to deliver here.After the disappointig Agents of Mayhem, Koch Media is determined to deliver everything fans enjoy with a new Saints RowKundratitz, however, is unconcerned, emphasising that while Saints Row and Agents of Mayhem share a universe, they remain two separate brands.”Saints Row is Saints Row,” he says. “The two games are similar, for sure, but they’re also completely different. With Volition, we have the creators of all the Saints Row games as an internal studio and they’re not going to be distracted by anything else from creating our next game under this important franchise. “Saints Row is very close to our hearts, and we’ll talk about it next year. For the time being, we just wanted to get the word out that it’s coming and it’s going to be great.””Yes, we can do things better and we can grow our franchises, that’s certainly what our intention is, but to be like Activision? I don’t think that’s our path” There’s one last Koch-owned IP people are eagerly awaiting news from. Back in August, the publisher also acquired the rights to sci-fi shooter series TimeSplitters, as well as another Free Radical title Second Sight. It’s been almost 15 years since the franchise’s last outing, and the hiring of TimeSplitters co-creator Steve Ellis has reignited the hype. Kundratitz confirms that Ellis is “exploring ways to bring TimeSplitters back,” but is unable to give any more detail. Ellis and Koch have no easy task before them. While Saints Row is still comparatively recent, and therefore easier to update for a modern audience, TimeSplitters hasn’t been seen in more than two console generations. First-person shooters have advanced in so many ways that it will be challenging to make a game that stays true to what what fans loved about the series (or more accurately, what they remember) but also accounts for changes to the genre. How will Koch approach this challenge?”I think that’s a question Steve should answer,” Kundratitz says. “We’re very cognizant of the fact we’re not building games for the past, we’re building them for future audiences. Future audience have completely different expectations and other games to play than they had 15, 20 years ago. I would say stay tuned on what we’re going to come up with.”Series co-creator Steve Ellis is currently exploring how to revive TimeSplitters for a modern audienceShenmue, Dead Island, Saints Row, TimeSplitters, Metro — Koch has no shortage of recognisable brands, yet it has yet to elevate itself to the level of the bigger publishers; the EAs, Activisions and Ubisofts of the world. As part of the growing Embracer — and the seemingly endless string of acquisitions it makes — it’s easy to imagine Koch rising to this top tier within the next decade. But Kundratitz says that’s not necessarily a priority.”I don’t think we need to plan to be somebody else,” he says. “We need to stay where we are — we’re a publisher, developer, content creator that makes content for gamers. We’re not mass market like FIFA. Deep Silver is a gamer brand and we need to deliver on our RPGs, open-world action games, shooters. That’s where we’re at home. “Yes, we can do things better and we can grow our franchises, that’s certainly what our intention is, but to be like Activision? I don’t think that’s our path.”Instead, Koch is focusing on bolstering its current operations, having opened new offices in Australia and Poland earlier this year. This, Kundratitz says, is helping the company “become more relevant on a global scale.”Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “We’re in quite an interesting phase of growth,” he continues. “We have to pace our growth correctly, we have to focus on quality development and we have to find our own way forwards rather than following other business models. “We are still very committed to the physical space, and probably first and foremost a publisher that believes we have to see this business as a digital and physical business, rather than a business which has a digital future and a physical past. It’s more a hybrid of those businesses in the future.”Correction: A previous version of this article reported Dying Light 2’s release date as June 2020. Koch Media has since reached out to correct this as ‘next year.’ We have updated our article accordingly.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEmbracer Group acquires 13 studios: Here’s everything you need to knowFlying Wild Hog, Coffee Stain North, Zen Studios, Julian Gollop’s Snapshot Games, and more added to THQ Nordic parent’s growing games empireBy James Batchelor 5 months agoKoch Media acquires Vertigo Games for €50mThe Dutch VR publisher joins Embracer Group, in a deal that could rise a further €65m over ten yearsBy Matthew Handrahan 7 months agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

Chambers could be told to publish harassment statistics

first_imgChambers could be asked to publish the number of workplace harassment and discrimination complaints that are made against tenants as part of efforts to ‘eliminate unfair treatment of female barristers’.In an action plan announced today the Bar Standards Board (BSB) said it was considering several recommendations, one of which would involve ‘expanded monitoring’ of chambers.Current policy only calls for chambers to have a ‘proper procedure’ for handling complaints.The BSB’s recommendations say chambers could be required to record and report the number of complaints received, and the outcomes of those complaints. Annual reports on the number of harassment/discrimination experiences and a requirement for policies to be published or provided to staff and tenants before they join a set has also been suggested. #*#*Show Fullscreen*#*# Other proposals include asking chambers to disclose the reasons for allocating work to a particular barrister and the number of flexible working requests a chambers receives.A BSB spokesperson told the Gazette: ‘If the BSB were to consider this it would involve formal consultation before any potential rule changes can be made. The focus is on how chambers can better monitor, record and address discrimination through their internal management processes and how this can improve working culture.’The announcement follows the BSB’s ‘Women at the Bar’ report in 2016 which found that women could face treatment including harassment, discrimination and unfair allocation of work.After that report, the BSB held workshops with barristers, barristers’ clerks, chambers’ directors, circuit leaders, specialist bar associations and training providers to come up with a plan for tackling the problem.Ewen MacLoed, BSB director of strategy and policy, said: ‘These proposals seek to focus on the unfair treatment of women barristers and to improve the retention and progress of women at the bar. It is clear that the profession needs to continue to work together to address these issues, ensure more wide-spread compliance with our equality rules, learn from the examples of good practice that exist at the Bar, and to focus on delivering practical and workable solutions.’The BSB said it will continue to engage with the Bar Council, Legal Practice Management Association, Institute of Barristers’ Clerks, Inns of Court and other stakeholders.Sam Mercer, head of policy: equality & diversity at representative body the Bar Council said much of the BSB’s action plan ‘appears to support and recognise’ the importance and value of work that the council has already undertaken. ‘Given that many of the ideas outlined intersect with our experience of working closely with the bar, we are keen to engage with the BSB on behalf of the profession,’ she said.last_img read more

13 new DLP candidates

first_img Sharing is caring! Tweet Share Share Sharecenter_img LocalNewsPolitics 13 new DLP candidates by: – February 18, 2019 The Honorable Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit announced 13 new Labour Party candidates who will run for office in the 2019/2020 elections.At the Dominica Labour Party Delegations Conference 2019 on February 17th, the Prime Minister revealed that some Labour Party representatives are stepping down from political office.The Labour Party now comprises of 10 women and 11 men.The list is as follows:Political Leader/ Vielle Case constituency: Honorable Dr Roosevelt SkerritDeputy Leader/Cottage Constituency: Hon Reginald AustriePortsmouth Constituency: Hon Ian DouglasPaix Bouche Constituency: Hon Roslyn PaulColihaut Constituency: Hon Lady Catherine DanielSalisbury Constituency: Hon Shanks EspiritMahaut Constituency: Hon Rayburn BlackmooreSoufriere Constituency: Hon Denise CharlesRoseau North Constituency: Joseph Issac (New)Grandbay Constituency: Edward Registe (New)Grandfond Constituency: Gretta Roberts (New)Marigot Constituency: Anicka Charles (New)Salybia Constituency: Cozier Federick (New)Castle Bruce Constituency: Octavia Alfred (New)Laplaine Constituency: Kent Edwards (New)Petite Savanne Constituency: Marva Williams (New)Roseau South Constituency: Chekira Lockhart Hypolite (New)St Joseph Constituency: Dr Adis King (New)Roseau Central Constituency: Melissa Poponne Skerrit (New)Roseau Valley Constituency: Dr Irving McIntyre (New)Wesley Constituency: Fidel Grant (New) 3185 Views   no discussionslast_img read more

CWC 2019: Virat Kohli gives his opinion on the new away jersey

first_imgImage Courtesy: The StatesmanAdvertisement 7bl6aNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vscw9auWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Ecz( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) rWould you ever consider trying this?😱3i9e1opCan your students do this? 🌚6lnfa4Roller skating! Powered by Firework Team India recently launched their away jersey for the World Cup which they would be wearing for the clashes against England and Sri Lanka, where the Men In Blue are assigned as the away team.Advertisement Image Courtesy: The StatesmanOn the launch of their away jersey, Virat Kohli, a fashion icon off the field, gave his opinion about the jersey. Several teams have been forced to wear an alternate jersey due to the other team playing with a similar shade.Thus, the Indian team would be wearing this particular jersey, which has a hint of dark blue coupled with a shade of orange. While the colour of the jersey has triggered an onset of debate across the country for political reasons, Kohli let it slide and gave his approval for the jersey.Advertisement “For one game, it’s fine. I don’t think permanently we’d be heading in that direction because blue has always been our colour, very proud to wear that. For a change and looking at the occasion, it’s a very smart kit,”Kohli proceeded to rate the kit a solid 8 out of 10. He praised the contrast of the jersey as well. He continued:Advertisement “I quite like it, I think it’s right up there. For me, it would be eight. Honestly, I’m not saying it for the sake of it. I really like it. The contrast is very nice,”Read Also:Kris Srikkanth wants young Pant to be included in the XI as the No 4 batsmanThe World Cup belongs to the team that beats India says Vaughan Advertisementlast_img read more

Kerber’s a BHP trailblazer

first_imgBy Kyra Gillespie Former Pakenham Secondary College student Sabrina Kerber returned to school on Monday 23 October to share her…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

UPDATE: Caledonia overpowers Bombers at High School Girl’s Hoop Provincials

first_imgCaledonia of Terrace out scored LVR 35-15 in the second half en route to a 53-32 victory over the L.V. Rogers Bombers Saturday at the BC High School AA Girl’s Basketball Championships at the Events Centre in Langley.A. Wit scored 22 points to lead Caledonia to the victory.The finished the tournament in 16th spot, losing all four games in the event.LVR trailed 18-17 at halftime.Naomi Perkins led the Bombers scoring attack with nine points while Christina Champlin and Sian Nielsen each added five.The Bombers lost Friday 66-40 to Southridge of Surrey.Southridge led 15-12 after one quarter before scoring 40 points in the second and third periods to lead 55-29. Perkins led LVR with 12 points while Shannon Oothuyzen had seven and Ali Zondervan five.Rick Hansen rocks Bombers at AA Girl’s Hoops ChampionshipsThe L.V. Rogers Bombers lost for the second day in a row as Rick Hansen of Abbotsford defeated the Kootenay reps 94-36 at the BC High School AA Girl’s Basketball Championships at the Events Centre in Langley.Rick Hansen, leading 44-27 at halftime, rang up 50 points in the second half to win going away.Naomi Perkins led the Bombers in scoring with 13 points.Ansleigh Dergousoff and Christina Champlin each added four points.LVR, ranked 15th entering the tournament, dropped the opener 100-41 to second-ranked Immaculata of Kelowna.The Bombers now meet Southridge of Surrey in consolation action Friday.The final is set for Friday afternoon.last_img read more

GMIT To Host CFAI Cup Finals Week

first_imgGMIT manager Brian Laffey explained what will happen over those two days to Mike Rafferty.Audio Playerhttps://galwayfm.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/BRIAN-LAFFEY-AT-CFAI-LAUNCH-FOR-WEBSITE.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email The launch has taken place in Galway of the CFAI Cup Finals that will be held in Galway on March the 7th and 8th with Mervue United’s home ground at Fahy’s field and Galway United’s home ground Eamon Deacy Park. In total, five finals will be held over the two days with GMIT currently in with a chance of making two of those finals in Mens and Ladies.last_img read more

Sinibaldi, Thornell Named Southland Baseball Players of the Week

first_imgSouthland Baseball News and Stats (PDF)FRISCO, Texas – Nicholls junior right-hander Justin Sinibaldi has been named the Southland Conference Pitcher of the Week and Stephen F. Austin junior infielder Kyle Thornell has been named the Southland hitter of the week, the league office announced Monday. Thornell had an impressive series for Stephen F. Austin as the Lumberjacks claimed their first series win of the season, taking two of three at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.  Against the Islanders, Thornell hit .818 (9-of-11) with three RBI and five runs scored while posting a 1.273 slugging percentage and an .842 on-base percentage in the three-game series. The junior from Magnolia batted .692 with an impressive 1.077 slugging percentage and a .765 on base percentage during the Lumberjacks four games of the week. Each school’s sports information director nominates and votes for the players of the week, though is not permitted to vote for his own player. To receive honorable mention, a player must receive votes from 25 percent of the Southland sports information directors. Sinibaldi (5-1) was dominant Sunday in a complete-game shutout against the top-ranked offensive team in the Southland Conference, Southeastern Louisiana. Sinibaldi held the league-leading Lions to a .172 batting average and five hits while registering six strikeouts. Sinibaldi is the second-ranked pitcher in the conference with a 1.15 ERA, trailing his teammate Ryan Deemes. This marks the second pitcher of the week honors of the season for Sinibaldi after claiming the recognition in the opening week. Honorable mention for hitter of the week goes to Central Arkansas junior centerfielder Tyler Langley, Houston Baptist senior pitcher/third baseman Curtis Jones, Northwestern State junior outfielder Cort Brinson and Southeastern Louisiana sophomore outfielder Jacob Seward. Honorable mention for pitcher of the week goes to Lamar senior left-hander Chase Angelle, Southeastern Louisiana junior right-hander Tate Scioneaux, Northwestern State senior right-hander Brandon Smith and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi senior right-hander Matt Danton.last_img read more

Why Can’t Apple BUY Anything With Its $100 Billion?

first_imgMassive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… fredric paul Having an extra $100 billion lying around isn’t a bad problem to have. And I don’t have an issue with Apple’s decision today to use some of that cash stash to pay dividends to investors and to buy back some of its stock.But doesn’t that decision also indicate a lack of attractive companies for Apple to buy? I mean, $100 billion is a lot of money and you would think there would be something out there worth owning in that price range. Apparently, Apple doesn’t think so. Or at least it doesn’t think there are any companies out there worth the price. And what does that say about the state of the technology industry?In the days leading up to today’s announcement, I heard all sorts of speculation on what Apple might do with the money. Some of the suggestions were serious, like buying Sprint, or even Twitter. DropBox has been mentioned, too. $100 billion would even enable Apple to cover Facebook’s IPO price, or almost half of Google’s current market cap.One could also argue that Apple should actually own at least parts of its vaunted supply chain. (Foxconn, I’m guessing, isn’t really for sale.) And with $100 billion, you could actually build infrastructure where-ever you wanted it. In the U.S., for example.And just today, I’m reading suggestions that Apple should buy Adobe or Corel. Why?Apart from some small-ish deals, like Isreali flash-memory maker Anobit late last year, Apple has recently shied away from spending serious money on companies. Mostly, I think, because it doesn’t have to. As the world’s largest publicly held company (by market cap), Apple has the market clout to get outside vendors to do pretty much anything it wants, at terms very advantageous to Apple. No matter how much money you have, there’s no reason to take a risk when you don’t have to. And none of the businesses mentioned above, none of them, enjoys margins that compare to Apple’s gaudy figures.On the other hand, Apple’s situation reminds me of when I was a kid and wished I had all the money in the world… until someone pointed out that if I had all the money, I couldn’t use it to buy anything. IT + Project Management: A Love Affaircenter_img Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Tags:#Analysis#enterprise last_img read more