You may want to take some time to think about exactly where your next-gen console is coming from.
Reports are coming in from Chinese gaming media that Foxconn, the massive factory-city responsible for the assembly of consumer electronics from the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and Apple, are using some very dubious labor practices in the assembly of the upcoming PS4. According to Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily, thousands of students from an IT engineering program at the Xi’an Institute of Technology are being forced to work at Foxconn’s Yantai plant assembling Sony’s upcoming console.
The program lures students in by posing as an “internship” that offers them credits towards their degree, but upon arriving at the factory, the students are often assigned tasks that have no bearing whatsoever on their field of study.
One student, for example, majored in finance and accounting but has been assigned to a job that entails gluing together PS4 components. Another, a computer science major, puts the PS4’s various cords and the instruction manual into the console’s box. Students are complaining that they are essentially working the exact same hours as regular employees, but because it is an internship, they aren’t getting paid.
Foxconn has of course denied these allegations, and the Xi’an Institute dodged questions about the compulsory nature of the internship, stressing that the practice was legal and that it was “mainly about making students learn about society and experience life.” It’s worth noting that another controversial internship program involving Foxconn and this exact same college emerged last year, too.
Just for reference, 10% of Microsoft’s Xbox One components are also assembled at the Foxconn plant.