Bleak News on Konami and Staff
According to reports of a Japanese newspaper called Nikkei, the corporate atmosphere at Konami is becoming quite bleak. The home of the Metal Gear and Silent Hill series is sounding like a very terrifying place to work.
According to sources, Nikkei's report alleges that the culture of Konami's game division started shifting after the success of the mobile game, Dragon Collection, in 2010. The mobile game was considered a smash-hit and company executives started seeing mobile as the new focus of the company, with development costs being low and profit returns being potentially large, moving away from traditional games. Since then, things have moved downhill for game developers within Konami, in many ways.
The legendary development team, Kojima Productions, has been renamed 'Number 8 Production Unit' (translation varies roughly between sources, but they're all very similar to this). Those who worked in the former Kojima Productions are put under intense scrutiny, with their computers unable to connect to the internet. Kojima Productions veterans are only able to send internal messages.
All employees are intensely monitored. Cameras have been allegedly installed, not for security purposes, but for watching employee movements. Also, any employee who leaves the building for lunch, have their time checked by time cards; if the employee takes too long on their lunch break, their name is read aloud to the company, in an attempt to humiliate them.
Also alleged by Nikkei, is that some employees are not given permanent e-mail addresses. Those work in PR and sales do, but the rest have their e-mail address randomized regularly every few months.
A story that came from Nikkei detailed how an employee posted on Facebook that he was leaving Konami. Employees who liked the post were monitored and scrutinized by the company.
In perhaps what is the most shocking and disgusting part of the article on Konami, game developers who are deemed 'less useful' are moved around to jobs as security guards, cleaning staff at Konami's fitness centers, and workers at pachi-slot machine factories. These blatantly terrible working conditions are not just for junior staff, but producers who worked on well known games. This story is corroborated by Asahi News, where they conducted an interview with a developer who went from producing games, to working in a pachi-slot factory, leading to severe depression
There's been no word from Konami on these allegations, but given reports since the beginning of the year, it looks like these appalling stories are likely true.