Japanese economic newspaper Nikkei has released a report stating that the relationship between Konami’s video game division and the upper management began to degrade around 2010 when their mobile title, Dragon Collection, became a smash hit. This signalled the start of a transition from a focus on traditional console gaming to mobile within the company that was later confirmed by their CEO in a statement.
This decision by itself wasn’t surprising, considering the popularity of mobile games in Japan. What is, however, are the conditions that many of the workers at Konami are now facing.
Nikkei reports that workers who leave the officer for their lunch breaks are being monitored with time cards. Those who stay out too long have their names announced through the company. Furthermore, there are cameras built into the offices to monitor the movement of employees.
Workers who liked the Facebook status of a Konami employee, which announced that he was leaving the company after being offered a another job, were reshuffled within the company.
And perhaps most shockingly, game developers who aren’t seen as being useful are reassigned to jobs as security guards, cleaning staff at the company’s fitness clubs or roles at a pachi-slot machine factory. Asahi news (one of Japans largest newspapers) ran an interview in which a Konami staffer alleged that the had gone from working in game development to a pachi-slot factory and was suffering severe depression as a result.
These revelations from Nikkei may finally provide the justification behind Hideo Kojima’s decision to leave the company after working for thirty years within Konami. While Kojima himself may have been spared from much of the harassment, with reports stating that the budget of Metal Gear Solid 5 has surpassed $80 million, it would assuredly have been the focus of a lot of disdain underneath Konami’s new regime.