Konami cannot seem to stay out of the gaming headlines as of late and would look to the average person that most of it is through their own doing. With the most recent allegations of Konami treating their employees almost inhumanely, groups on the internet have started #BoycottKonami hashtags on Twitter an social media. The question I pose to you is simple. Will Konami stop you from buying MSGV?
For those of you who are unfamiliar about the most recent reports about Konami, here’a quick rundown from our friends at Kotaku:
- Kojima Productions, the studio behind the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V (and long famous as a brand of its own), is now simply known as “Number 8 Production Department.” The computers in this section, Nikkei says (and as we reported earlier this year), are allegedly not connected to the internet and are only able to send internal messages.
- Nikkei reports that employees leaving the company offices during their lunch break are having their absences monitored with time cards. Those who stay out too long are having their names announced throughout the company.
- That there are cameras in the office corridors that aren’t there for security, but rather to monitor the movements of Konami’s own employees.
- That most Konami employees do not have their own permanent company email addresses. Staff who must deal with people outside the company, such as sales and PR do; however, everyone else routinely has their address randomised and changed every few months. (Note: Konami employee emails are typically a few letters followed by a string of numbers, but this random email changing has been going on at Konami for years. A while back, one Konami employee told me this was done to prevent headhunting. Over the years, I have seen developers with company email addresses, but this might have changed recently.)
- That Konami game developers who aren’t seen as useful are reassigned to jobs as security guards, cleaning staff at the company’s fitness clubs or roles at a pachi-slot machine factory. This includes not just junior staff, but producers who have worked on well-known game titles. In 2013, Asahi News, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, ran an interview with a former Konami staffer who allegedly went from game development to working in Konami’s pachi-slot factory, causing him to experience severe depression.
- That one former employee, upon announcing on Facebook that they were leaving Konami and had got a new job elsewhere, had their post monitored. Nikkei says remaining Konami staff who “liked” the post were all reshuffled within the company.
To be blunt, Konami is treating their employees like animals, or their own property, and not like normal human beings. I cannot condone this type of treatment, but others on social media are taking it to the next level.
The use of hastags like #StopKonami and #BoycottKonami are all over Twitter and when I saw this, I took to Twitter to give my two cents.
Quickly after I tweeted, I saw someone who doesn’t follow my account reply calling me spineless for not boycotting the Kojima’s last installment in the MGS series. Keep calm and doing my best Jim Sterling impression, I responded in a way that ended the back and forth before it started.
I stand by my excitement for the game and will probably buy this game on launch day. Again, I do not in any way think that the way Konami treats its employees is humane, but I will not let that taint the hard work that Kojima and Kojima Productions put into this title.
That’s what it all really comes down to. I respect and enjoy Kojima and that team so much that even though he and that team might not be around once the game is out (he already isn’t obviously), I will still buy the game as a sign of support and gratitude for that work they put in.
Yes this may sound bullheaded of me, but The Phantom Pain looks like it will be one of, if not my number one, Game of the Year award winner. I won’t let a company who doesn’t know how to take its head out of its own ass stop me from enjoying that experience, especially when a man like Kojima worked so hard on it with a great team like Kojima Productions.
In my eyes, to not buy this game would be showing those developers that their endurance through those awful conditions was not appreciated.
Now I ask you, the reader, will you let a hashtag control you?