Nikkei, a Japanese financial newspaper has eyebrows raising with it’s report on Konami’s standing in the game industry as far as money is concerned and the mental state of it’s employees. The original article is in Japanese but a freelance translator named Thomas James gave readers a look into the article and it’s not pretty.
The article states that Konami spent over $80 million just on developing Metal Gear Solid V and suggests that Konami’s issues go way past than Kojima-gate, in which Konami snatched the Kojima Productions logo off of the box art for Metal Gear Solid V and the infamous cancellation of Silent Hills. Apparently, Konami’s struggles started back about 5 years ago with Dragon Collection, a mobile game that was pretty successful and kicked off Konami’s era of low-cost game creation; mobile games are much cheaper to produce than console games, which kind of makes since for why the Suikoden and Love Plus franchise screeched to a halt, especially since their creator left Konami.
Another dark side of Konami is mentioned– the monitoring and it’s treatment of employees. Nikkei’s article reveals that Konami has cameras in the corridors to monitor what employees are doing and where they are going. Although it’s pretty commonplace for companies to use time cards to evaluate who is coming in late to work, or tacking on an extra 5 minutes to their lunch break, the article expressed that Konami not only recorded time card punches, but publicly shamed employees within the company. Another “shady” practice is no one at Konami except for the sales and PR staff has permanent company emails. Strange, right? Outside of PR and sales, other employees have randomized emails every few months. Wondering if you’re making a difference at Konami? Let that thought fly out the window, as apparently, Konami decides that for you. Nikkei declared that once Konami deems you “useless”, you are shuffled into other jobs in the company, even if it means they “downgrade” you to cleaning their company fitness club, pop you into the assembly line at their slot machine factory or working as a security guard. This isn’t just hearsay however; Asahi News told the story of a former Konami employee that was expunged from game development and progressively went into a deep depression when placed in the assembly line at their pachi-slot machine factory. Konami also takes social media unquestionably serious, as proven with the story of an employee posting on Facebook that he was leaving for a new job and the result was him everyone that liked his post was quickly dislocated and placed in other positions.
Although there has been outreach to Kagemasa Kozuki, founder of Konami by Nikkei and ZGO, there has been no response.