Report: You may not want to work for Konami
It seems like Konami might not be a company you would want to work for, as Japanese newspaper Nikkei revealed how poorly the staff are treated.
While my Japanese skills are a bit rough, Kotaku provided a translation of Nikkei’s article. The article shows that the company operates under almost sweatshop with cameras monitoring the movement of all employees, limited email and internet access, and underperforming developers being reassigned to jobs such as security staff and cleaning staff.
This latest piece of news from Nikkei shows off a continuing downward spiral for the company that has seen Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, pushed out of the company and Kojima Productions disbanded.
For an in-depth look at Nikkei’s allegations, Kotaku has broken everything down into an easy to read set of points. The allegations are the following:
- Kojima Productions, the studio behind the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V (and long famous as a brand of its own), is now simply known as “Number 8 Production Department.” The computers in this section, Nikkei says (and as we reported earlier this year), are allegedly not connected to the internet and are only able to send internal messages.
- Nikkei reports that employees leaving the company offices during their lunch break are having their absences monitored with time cards. Those who stay out too long are having their names announced throughout the company.
- That there are cameras in the office corridors that aren’t there for security, but rather to monitor the movements of Konami’s own employees.
- That most Konami employees do not have their own permanent company email addresses. Staff who must deal with people outside the company, such as sales and PR do; however, everyone else routinely has their address randomised and changed every few months. (Note: Konami employee emails are typically a few letters followed by a string of numbers, but this random email changing has been going on at Konami for years. A while back, one Konami employee told me this was done to prevent headhunting. Over the years, I have seen developers with company email addresses, but this might have changed recently.)
- That Konami game developers who aren’t seen as useful are reassigned to jobs as security guards, cleaning staff at the company’s fitness clubs or roles at a pachi-slot machine factory. This includes not just junior staff, but producers who have worked on well-known game titles. In 2013, Asahi News, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, ran an interview with a former Konami staffer who allegedly went from game development to working in Konami’s pachi-slot factory, causing him to experience severe depression.
- That one former employee, upon announcing on Facebook that they were leaving Konami and had got a new job elsewhere, had their post monitored. Nikkei says remaining Konami staff who “liked” the post were all reshuffled within the company.
Personally, if these allegations turn out to be true than Konami is slowly becoming a sweatshop, and while I don’t play many Konami games it would be disappointing to see a company that developed so many fan loved games I do feel a little saddened by the news.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.