Before I was the handsome nerd reporter you know me as, I used to work in human resources. During my time in that particular dungeon, I learned about a fun way of getting fired called “constructive discharge.” That’s where an employer makes you quit by making your job so excruciating, so miserable, that a paycheck isn’t worth it. And Konami, according to reports, is trying to turn constructive discharge into an Olympic sport.
The report, via Nikkei and found by Kotaku, almost reads like a joke. Employee computers are only connected to an internal network and they can’t access the Internet at all, and your email address is randomized every few months. Video cameras are placed to monitor every movement. If you take a long lunch break, they announce your name over the PA system. And if you don’t have a project, they make you work as a janitor in Konami’s health clubs.
Yes, Konami owns health clubs. They’re a very diversified company. Didn’t you see their erotic Castlevania pachinko?
You might wonder why Konami is trying to turn working for them as a console developer into a hellscape even Veridian Dynamics wouldn’t try out. The answer is that all this started back in 2010, when Konami put out a cheap mobile game called Dragon Collection that was a massive hit in Japan’s enormous mobile gaming market. Konami saw that they could make lots more money with cheap mobile games than with expensive console games, and thus began what appears to be a five-year campaign to get their developers to quit.
To be honest, I’m baffled they don’t just put a bullet in the whole division and have done with it. The company has largely destroyed any goodwill it has with consumers, and an attempt to relaunch its console division has sputtered out. They’ve gotten rid of Hideo Kojima, they’ve put an end to Silent Hills, why not just make it official, instead of torturing their employees?