Even if you hate where you work, count your lucky stars that you don't work for Konami.
A report from the Japanese outlet Nikkei recently found out some terrible employment practices from the legacy video game company behind some enormous titles like the Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill franchises. Kotaku kindly translated it for our English consumption.
Nikkei's report alleges that the culture at the corporation's video game division, famous for its console games, worsened in around 2010 when a mobile title called Dragon Collection became a smash hit. As a social game for phones, development costs were low and profit returns were huge. Not long after, the report says, Konami's corporate bosses shifted the company's focus away from traditional, hardcore games and towards cheaper, and potentially more lucrative social titles.
The allegations from the report cover some of the following crazy details:
- The studio behind the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V use computers allegedly not connected to the internet and are only able to send internal messages.
- Employees are monitored during their lunch break with time cards and if they take too long, their names are announced to the whole company.
- There are cameras in the office not for security, but rather to monitor the movements of the company's employees.
- Most Konami employees don't have their own permanent company email addresses, instead are given a randomized one that changes every few months.
- If game developers aren't thought to be useful at that time, they are reassigned to jobs as security guards, cleaners or in pachinko machine factories.
- The report describes one former employee who announced leaving the company on Facebook and then all the fellow employees who "liked" the status were reassigned into new jobs within the company.
And it sounds like it's at least partly true from game journalists in the know.
The Nikkei report on Konami lines up very well with a lot of what I've heard from employees before. It sounds rough there.— Mitch Dyer (@MitchyD) August 3, 2015
Konami has run into a swath of recent fan turmoil. First by systematically removing Metal Gear Solid mastermind Hideo Kojima from having anything to do with the company. And second, by ending the Guillermo Del Toro revamp of the Silent Hill series after the well-received P.T.demo.
Many speculate that Kojima is trying to focus on its less costly business endeavors like it's chain of fitness centers and its many pachinko machines.