Konami: Alleged Horrid Working Conditions

In the never ending saga that is Konami, last week brought a story that gave new insight into the company.  Allegations have surfaced in regards to the working conditions of those there that paint the misery that is imposed.

According to Nikkei, a reputable Asia-focused English-language publication:

  • Cameras that are located in certain hallways are not there for security reasons. Instead, they are used to track employees.
  • Kojima Productions is now known as “Number 8 Production Department”, where none of the computers are connected to the internet. Apparently, only internal emails are allowed to be sent.
  • Only staff that is required to speak to the outside world, such as PR, have their own permanent email. Everyone else has their email address randomized every few months.
  • Employees that leave the offices for their lunch break are observed through time cards. Those that take too long on their break have their names announced to everyone in the company.
  • Developers within the company who are no longer useful are reallocated to different positions, such as, security guards, cleaning staff at their fitness clubs or pachi-slot machine factories. This treatment isn’t exclusive either, people who have worked on well known titles have been moved around in this manner.
  • A certain employee who got the reallocation treatment, announced his departure from the company on Facebook, and everyone who “liked” the status was further monitored, and then moved.

The changes in the way that employees were managed allegedly came along after mobile game Dragon Collection became a hit out of the blue.  Due to the nature of mobile games, what this means is that the financial output to produce the game was eons less than any of their bigger triple A titles, but the return was large as well.  Less out, more in.  Employees state that the company, it’s views and it’s management changed drastically then.  If you think back to the public statement that the head of the company gave a few months ago, Konami has decided to focus more on mobile gaming due to its vast popularity in Japan. Interesting, right?

If this is true, this might explain a bit more about why Kojima and team seem to be backing away from Konami.  This one is worth keeping an eye on.

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