Konami, Konami, Konami, so we meet again. You are, quite frankly, the shining example of how to take a successful business (one with lots of good reputation among the gaming community) and flush it all down the toilet. Now, don’t get me wrong, you’re making a killing in the mobile market, so much so that you have abandoned the core gamers. You know, I don’t really begrudge you for that, after all, that’s where the money is apparently. Even so, I’d love it if you made more core games though, the “Castlevania”, “Metal Gear Solid” and “Zone of the Enders” games would be nice, but still, it’s fine. However, going so far as to blacklist your former employees (“Ex-Kons” as they’re called) is just too much.
Well, that and denying health coverage for current employees, which is totally disgusting.
See, a director of Konami is also the guy who heads an insurance company called ITS Kempo, which is supposed to provide insurance for people in the gaming industry. I mean, it’s not fishy or anything that ITS Kempo doesn’t give “Kons”, as they’re called, insurance or anything. No? Well, it most definitely is fishy as hell. It’s against the law for the chairman of an insurance agency to unilaterally decide if people from a company get a health insurance or not in Japan.
We know the history of Konami’s relations with Hideo Kojima (one of the people who helped put Konami on the map), so I don’t think I need to get into that matter here. However, if you’re curious to know more about Kojima’s departure from Konami, then you could always read through the following articles:
And then there’s the whole blacklisting thing. Anyone who’s struggled to find work, ever, can tell you, the mere THOUGHT of being blacklisted is scary enough, but finding out that a company goes out of its way to prevent “ex-Kons” from finding further work in the gaming industry is just deplorable. It’s so bad that some “ex-Kons” have tried taking up work in other fields for a while just to try and throw Konami off their trail.
Even if it’s not illegal to have black-lists (though I personally think that it should be illegal) it’s highly unethical and flat-out disturbing to see a company that published such awesome video games like Contra, Gradius among others, do stuff like that to their former employees. I would also like to point out that anyone who played the card game “Yu-Gi-Oh“, should have seen this coming for years. As Konami screwed that game up in ways that shouldn’t have been possible.
Personally, I quit playing “Yu-Gi-Oh” back in 2011, and from what I’ve seen, it’s a good thing I did. The real question we should be asking is this: “How long has Konami been doing these crappy practices?” After all, they’ve had the same person in command of Konami since 1973.
When I wrote my “The downfall of Konami” OP back in 2015 (August, 2015 to be exact). I honestly didn’t think that Konami could possibly become much worse than they already are. Well, I was wrong. So in less time than two years Konami has gone from a really bad state to an even worse state (that alone should be humanly impossible), and on a personal level, this sure hit home with me. “And why is that?” So you might wonder.
Well, I’ve grown up playing a lot of Konami’s old games (titles such as “Castlevania“, “Super Contra”, “Life Force“, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Silent Hill” and “Metal Gear Solid”). Furthermore, I have also sold quite a lot of Konami games over the years when I worked in retail in Sweden. So I got to know a handful of people from Konami (sales and PR folks), but back then (mid 90s and between 2004 and 2009) Konami didn’t have the problems that they do today (at least not to my knowledge).
Nevertheless, the fact still remains that today’s version of Konami is just a shadow of its former self (the old Konami has been dead for years now). So I truly believe that Hideo Kojima (Hideo left konami by the end of 2015) and Akira Yamaoka (Akira left Konami in 2009) did the right thing to leave Konami. As it has now become very crystal clear that it’s a pure horror experience to work at Konami (you can read about some of those awful experiences in the “Konami exodus” post by asia.nikkei.com).
So one might wonder for how much longer Konami will be able to stay afloat? Because not only are they bleeding talent, but their bad reputation has caught up with them as well…And I hardly doubt that they will be able to live off their mobile money forever. Especially not if people don’t even want to work for them anymore (no workers, no games, or at best, very poorly made ones, due to horrible working conditions and lack of bonuses and whatnot), and who could blame them really?
Because the following is said to be true about the relationship between Konami and it’s ex-employees:
1. Denying pay owed to Kojima
2. Colluding to deny health coverage
3. Blacklisting ex-employees
4. It’s said that ex Konami employees can’t put their years of experience with the company on their resumes, because if they do, then Konami will sue them
So I think it’s safe to say that there is no chance in hell that Konami is going to win the “best employer of the year” award anytime soon. In other words, it would be a very good idea for Konami’s current employees to leave the company as soon as possible (that’s what I would have done). As for Konami itself, the company is pretty much dead in my eyes, because most of the people that I’m a fan off left the company years ago. So I can’t really show them any support on my behalf anymore, because not only do they treat their employees like trash, but they also treat their fans badly as well.
And with that said, what’s your take on this matter? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Robin Ek – Editor
The Konami exodus (via asia.nikkei.com)
Best Mom Eva
Former Konami employees blacklisted across industry
The downfall of Konami
How Konami lost it’s way – Part 1
Norman Reedus trolls Konami
Hideo Kojima is rumored to leave Konami after MGS5
Konami and Square Enix are greedy to the max
The Gaming Ground
More by Phil Weigel: