Konami’s Year of Crap Continues, Business Practices Revealed

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

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By


Konami Pre-E3 Show 2013 | Metal Gear Solid V Big Boss

It’s already been a bad year for those with a vested interest in Konami. And if you had a stake in the company being a video game powerhouse again, it’s about to get worse. Japanese financial publication Nikkei has revealed some rather interesting news and questionable practices from within Konami. It should be said up front that these sources are anonymous and should be taken with a grain of salt.

First and foremost: how Konami treats their employees. Nikkei has revealed that specific departments are forced to use randomized email addresses when contacting those outside the company. Sales was listed as the main department using this system. It is also reported that employees are kept under watch with strict time allotment for lunch. While this all may seem minor to some, what comes next is most definitely problematic. From the translation of freelance localizer Thomas James:

Employees deemed useless have been known to do assemblyline work, security guard detail, cleanup at fitness clubs.

These aren’t nobodies being told to do this work either. Producers and other prominent creators have had this hoisted on them.

One famous incident of reassignments happened over a FB post of a guy saying he was heading to another company. Those who liked it were quickly found to have their positions shifted around. Even upper management with loyal followings were hit by this.

As for the more game-related news from the article, Konami has recently gotten rid of Momotaro Dentetsu over disagreements of revenue with the creator. Momotaro Dentetsu is a board game-style video game similar to that of Monopoly that had seen releases since 1988. Moving on, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has apparently reached the $80 million mark for budget, putting it in the Top 20 for highest video game budgets of all-time. Meanwhile, those that were looking forward to anything in the Tokimeki Memorial or Suikoden franchises shouldn’t hold their breath as development for both have been stopped (unknown if any games at all were in development at the time of the halt). It should be noted that Akari Uchida, the producer of Love Plus that left in March of this year, was a producer and designer for the Tokimeki Memorial series.

And for those that are wondering what happened to Konami, one employee believes that the shift started in 2010 when Dragon Collection released on mobile phones. The game cost less than $1 million but made an enormous amount of money. Since then, Konami co-founder and Chairman Kagamasa Kozumi has been pushing against rising costs in the console market.

The 2010 line of demarcation can be shown in the release schedule from the past five years. No new game has appeared on a Nintendo home console since 2011. The 3DS hasn’t seen a new game since 2013. Arcade releases have dropped considerably over that time. And the high-end consoles have only seen as many as three games release in both 2013 and 2014, with only two scheduled this year.

The Nikkei has reached out to Kagamasa Kozumi, although with no reply as of right now. Kozumi has been known to be a bit of a recluse, but it is said that this has escalated in recent years, becoming distant from his peers in the industry.

Anything positive to come from this? Well, a Momotaro Densetsu game — not a typo, this is a Hudson Soft created RPG series featuring the character MomotarĊ from Japanese folklore — was licensed out to Nintendo. It is expected to be released next year.

About Jeff Neuenschwander

Jeff has been a supporter of the website and campaign since the beginning. Joining in for E3 2012, he worked his way up the ranks quickly, making it to the Editing Manager post at the beginning of 2013. Jeff has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to gaming and pretty much likes anything that is quirky, although his favorite genres are Action, Platforming, and RPG. Outside of gaming, Jeff is a musician, being trained as a trombonist for Jazz and Classical music, and holds a degree in Sound Recording.




  • JDobbs

    Before this report came out, the odds of me purchasing Metal Gear Solid V were slim, now the chances are zero.

    • Eric Lavallee

      same I’ll just pirate it and not feel bad for once. how bout that. No guilt.

    • screwfacecapone

      Don’t do that. You’ll be hurting Kojima Productions more than you will Konami. Regardless of what’s going on with teh publisher, they worked their asses off on that game. If anything, just make sure Phantom Pain is teh last Konami product you’ll buy from them.

    • screwfacecapone

      If you skip out on Phantom pain because of this, You’ll be hurting Kojima Productions more than you will Konami. Regardless of what’s going on with the publisher, they worked their asses off on that game. If anything, just make sure Phantom Pain is the last Konami product you’ll buy from them.

  • RagunaXL

    Kind of makes the reasons why fans put square enix on blast for the last few years… unfair.

  • Razorfall

    Not surprised at all. Konami has been on the decline for over 10 years now. They’ve slowly killed off all their big franchises except for Castlevania and Metal Gear, and even then only Metal Gear seems to be the only series that’s still worth a damn.

  • HRTHBT453

    How about contacting president of KONAMI the main corporate entity Takuya Kozumi (Kagemasa’s son) instead, which is presumed as the one who makes the situation at Konami even worse since taking over that position in 2012?
    >New Momotaro Densetsu game from Nintendo
    Likely marked for localization.
    How about covertly contacting demoted Konami staffers who worked on the company’s games before to share more of their insights not only about Konami’s current situation but also their previous knowledge in the industry and their future plans if they would had not been demoted?

  • Eric

    Without knowing which “producers and other prominent creators” got demoted to menial labor, it’s hard to determine if these demotions were initiated by them sucking at their job and not wanting to just fire them.