Cancelling Silent Hills, boasting “Erotic Violence” in Castlevania, and throwing the future of Metal Gear to the wind are the least of Konami’s problems. It now has to deal with whistle blowers from within its own company spilling the beans on awful and possibly illegal working conditions.
Recent accusations painting Konami as a place that is not so much fun to work have flared up and only spread since.
A report by the Japanese business newspaper Nikkei suggested Konami is akin to an Orwellian company run like 1984, and Kotaku has only thrown fuel on the fire with sources from within the company speaking out more on the situation. Kotaku’s report comes off as even worse!
- Konami has an official division called the “Internal Audit Office” (内部監査室). One Konami employee compared them to the company’s own secret police. This division checks internal communication, such as email, Konami’s closed circuit cameras, and monitors who leaves and enters the company.
- One source said that the Internal Audit Office will even contact the employers of ex-Konami staff to tell the new companies how awful these former workers were.
- There is also a team within Konami called the Monitoring Group (モニタリング課). The team sit in a room that’s filled with monitors showing the internal CCTV feeds from cameras located within Konami. There are cameras in the company’s rooms, corridors and data centers. The Internal Audit Office has access to all this information for employee monitoring.
- Konami employees who want to use the internet must apply via the IT department for an internet VPN. Employees who want to take a laptop home must also apply. If approved, they log in through a VPN. According to one former employee, screenshots of employee computers are randomly taken, which sometimes results in employees getting in trouble for what’s on their monitors.
- There are rules about which entrance and exit employees can use, say current and former staff. When leaving, employees must show their Konami I.D., but then tell the security guard where they are going, whether that is to a nearby convenience store or just stepping out for a smoke break. When employees leave during normal business hours, this is tracked and compiled into a list. Employees who leave too often are reprimanded.
- Current and former staff say that every Monday morning, Konami’s Operating Officers have a meeting which is taped and broadcast on an internal Konami website. All Konami employees must watch this meeting, and this is tracked. Employees who fail to watch the meeting have their name and division announced throughout the company.
Wow… suddenly I see Hideo Kojima’s fascination with stealth and security cameras in a whole new light. But hey, mobile games are soaring high and profits are up, meaning that Konami is doing something correct, right? Am I right?
No, I’m not. This whole situation stinks, and it is a far more heartbreaking implosion than ever we’ve witnessed before in gaming history.