Japanese financial newspaper The Nikkei's insider report on Konami's working conditions tell of an environment built around fear.
Today, Japanese financial newspaper The Nikkei has published an insider report confirming something that many of us had suspected for a long time: working for Konami sucks. Konami has never been particularly well-received as a publisher by the gaming public, and some shenannigans involving Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and Silent Hills has further raised questions on how the company treats its employees. The Nikkei's report seems to fairly answer those questions with "not well", speaking of an environment built on fear, and workers treated like prisoners.
Kotaku has offered up a translation of the original Japanese article. Here are some of the most damming points from the report:
- 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 put to work on the production line at a pachinko-slot machine factory. This includes not just junior staff, but producers who have worked on well-known game titles.
- Employees on Hideo Kojima's "Kojima Productions" team are forced to work on computers allegedly not connected to the internet and are only able to send internal messages.
- 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.
- 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. This is reportedly done to prevent headhunting from rival companies.
- That there are cameras in the office corridors that aren't there for security, but rather to monitor the movements of the company's own employees.
One particularly crazy anecdote tells of a Konami employee who quit, and posted about it on Facebook. Konami monitored the post, reshuffling any current employees that happened to "like" it.
It's certainly not a very pretty picture, and sounds like something out of an Orwellian nightmare. We've contacted Konami for comment, but don't expect too much to come out of that...