A report from Japanese publication Nikkei has shed new light on Konami’s treatment of its game developers and other employees. Since the controversy surrounding Hideo Kojima arose, speculation has circulated regarding how the company treats its employees. According to Nikkei, the workplace for Konami’s developers and the like is even worse than expected, with employee management and control methods bordering on cruel.
Among the faults cited by the article are the following:
- Employees who leave the company offices during lunch hours are marked with time cards; those who stay out too long are singled out by name throughout the company.
- The computers in Kojima Productions (now called “Number 8 Production Department”) are not connected to the Internet and can only send internal messages.
- Employees who do not deal with work outside the company (such as PR) have their company email randomized and changed every few months.
- Cameras are situated in office corridors to monitor the activities of employees.
- Game developers who are not seen as useful are reassigned to positions as security guards, pachi-slot machine (a Japanese slot machine) factory workers, or cleaning staff at the company’s fitness clubs. This is reported to occur at all levels of game development, not just with inexperienced developers.
- After a former Konami employee posted on Facebook about leaving the company and finding another job, current Konami staff who “liked” the post were reshuffled within the company.
Nikkei has suggested that the subpar working conditions listed above may have come about from the shift in Konami’s corporate culture following its first big mobile gaming success in 2010. At the moment, Konami has not yet responded to the report to confirm or deny the allegations.