This certainly hasn’t been a very good year for Konami. After the departure of Hideo Kojima, things have gone from bad to worse for the once mighty video game developer. A new report from Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reveals how things have gotten to where they are now.
The report talks about how Konami employees were monitored, not just in the office, but even in their private lives. Cameras were placed in corridors, not for security purposes, but to monitor the movements of employees. Those who left the company offices for a lunch break had to check out with a time card and those who were tardy had their names announced throughout the company. There is even an account of one employee having their post monitored on Facebook when they announced they were leaving Konami. The report also says that any employee who “liked” this post were reshuffled within Konami.
Nikkei goes on to report about how the computers at Kojima Productions, which is now known as “Number 8 Productions,” were not connected to the internet and are only able to send internal messages. We also learn that most Konami employees do not have a permanent company e-mail address, only those who deal with PR and sales do. Everyone else has their email randomized and changed every few months.
The worst part of the report is about what happens to game developers who are seen to be useless. These people, who can be anyone from junior staff to producers of well known games, are reassigned to be security guards, cleaning staff at the company’s fitness club, or are given a role at a pachinko machine factory. There is one documented case of an employee who was reassigned from game development to working at a Konami pachi-slot factory experiencing severe depression.
With all of these things happening, it is no surprise that Hideo Kojima, and others have left Konami. This sort of repressive working environment isn’t one that is conducive to a nurturing creativity. With that said, this sort of situation isn’t atypical of Japanese office culture and we shouldn’t see the way Konami Japan treats its staff as an exception.
Stay tuned for more on this as it develops.
Source: Nikkei via Kotaku