#1 Edited by Blu3V3nom07 (4137 posts) -

In the race to have Sony's PlayStation 4 console ready for launch, Foxconn pressured over 1,000 student interns to work overtime during the assembly process. .. Further, Foxconn is said to be "reinforcing the policies of no overtime and no night shifts for student interns" following the worrying discovery. Reports first emerged yesterday from Tencent Games (translated by Games in Asia).

.. But the interns found that their assigned work had little to do with their respective areas of study. Instead, they found themselves on the assembly line carrying out mindless tasks like packaging PS4 accessories and operating manuals. These shifts ran for hours at a time — matching those of regular (and paid) employees — and often extended overnight. Foxconn has run into trouble at this very plant before; last year it admitted to hiring underage interns at the Yantai facility.

The company maintains that these latest internships were completely voluntary and that students had the option of walking away at any point. For its part, Sony says Foxconn has yet to violate its Sony Supplier Code of Conduct, suggesting that the supplier is still "complying with all applicable laws, work ethics, labor conditions, and respect for human rights, environmental conservation, and health and safety."

The Verge: Foxconn pressured thousands of interns to work overtime during PlayStation 4 assembly

I guess Sony will have enough units at launch then. No point in ebaying it overpriced now.

Online
#2 Posted by Sterling (2052 posts) -

I like how the press is spinning this against the PS4 when Foxconn makes parts for many electronics makers, not just Sony. Including, but limited to, Microsoft and Nintendo. Also Sony has no control over Foxconn.

#3 Posted by Sin4profit (2903 posts) -

abusing interns is what interns are for, ain't it?

#4 Posted by CircleNine (381 posts) -

Nearly every modern electronic device you and I use was made in a factory like this under terrible work conditions with minimal to non existent labor regulations with materials frequently from conflict-states. That doesn't suddenly make it right or absolve Sony from doing the Business Thing of exploiting labor for profit and it's all around shitty but this isn't just Sony. This is everyone.

#5 Posted by oldenglishC (922 posts) -

Classic $ony.

#6 Posted by joshwent (2051 posts) -

This seems like mostly a failure of the University the students were doing this internship for not making sure that they were assigned appropriate work. The students should have been able to appeal to their school and then be reassigned. I guess China don't care.

Shitty situation for those kids. Although, certainly not a human rights abuse and absolutely not any fault of Sony's. But hey, feeding the console war gets page views, right?

#7 Posted by MonetaryDread (1987 posts) -

what does "pressured Th's," mean? is "Th's," some sort of acronym that I am not aware of?

On topic though, this is normal for the industry. If you do not like Foxconn's practices then you should stop buying any electronics for the rest of your life. All manufacturing plants operate like that.

#8 Posted by Zaccheus (1784 posts) -

People don't want to know where their meat comes from, people don't want to know how their electronics got made. Video games!

#9 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4137 posts) -

@monetarydread: Its 'thousands.' I only have 60 characters to work with..

And yea, Apple and Samsung do this every single year to the dot. Never fails.

Online
#10 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

Pfft. Every single fucking electronics manufacturer is just as guilty. They all have their product assembled at Fox Con.

#11 Edited by MarkWahlberg (4577 posts) -

Interns are the new impoverished Malaysian children, I guess?

#12 Posted by TheHBK (5458 posts) -

I hope all of you who buy PS4s realize what you are. Heartless Monsters.

#13 Posted by Mister_V (1173 posts) -

@thehbk said:

I hope all of you who buy PS4s realize what you are. Heartless Monsters.

i knew that long before i ordered a PS4.

#14 Posted by LiquidPrince (15833 posts) -

This has very little to do with Sony and much to do with how bad of a company Foxconn is.

#15 Posted by geirr (2469 posts) -

As everyone has pointed out, Foxconn services several companies and it's governed by the laws in their own country. Sony doesn't have anything more to do with this than you and I for enjoying food while 50% of the world is starving or worse. While this practise sounds horrible to me it's just the norm there so I'm not going to throw pitchforks at them for their internal work ethics.

#16 Posted by MildMolasses (3211 posts) -

This has very little to do with Sony and much to do with how bad of a company Foxconn is.

Yes, but these companies continue to do business with Foxconn and they can be held accountable for that

#17 Edited by joshwent (2051 posts) -

Held accountable for what, though? These were interns from a University who were coerced into doing assembly line jobs. That sucks. But apparently they were putting manuals into boxes and putting stickers on things and the like. It's not like they were plucked from their beds at night and made to work the oars of a Galleon while being incessantly whipped with food hanging just out of reach of their starvingly withered hands. The shitty part is that they didn't get the fun on-the-job experience they expected, and instead did boring work.

I was once hired as a delivery guy for a restaurant, my wage being less than others because I'd presumably get a lot of tips. Well, there were no deliveries, so I ended up having to do the same line prep work the others were doing but getting paid much less. That sucked, but it's very, very far from a human rights violation.

It's good to be weary of "sweat shop" situations, but this news just isn't about that.

#18 Edited by psylah (2161 posts) -
#19 Edited by Marokai (2787 posts) -

It's never ceases to amaze me how the press is willing to single out Sony over the oddest things, almost always things that everyone in their competition has been doing for ages, unnoticed, but when it's Sony, it's a story.

Microsoft's been acting like assholes in their ads and interviews, acting cocky and childish, directly calling out Sony and the Ps4 by name and going on weird rants on Neogaf, but Andrew House throws out some "We were consistent from day one, unlike others" line at Gamescom, and everyone suddenly clutches their pearls in shocked outrage, calling it childish and "beneath them" and how they need to "knock it off and grow up."

Retailers have been shuffling around Ps4 launch edition and Ps4 bundle stock, trying to sort out what pre-orders go to where, and if their customers want to upgrade from launch editions to bundles, and the press grabs this story as "Sony is trying to force people to buy more expensive console bundles against their will!" when this practice has been happening in retailers for generations and from all console makers.

Foxconn has manufactured many game consoles, and their operation is totally outside of Sony's control. But when something bad happens there, it's Sony's fault specifically. Why? Because reasons. Hell, some people in the press raised more of a fuss about Sony leaving DRM up to the publisher than they did about Microsoft actually having DRM. And on and on and on.

Sweatshop labor shouldn't exist, I find it morally repugnant, and I'm not the type to cheer-lead big companies because that's weird and they don't need my love, they just want my business. But the way Sony has been unfairly singled out and had "questions" and "concerns" raised about them in the press this entire year seem insane. They've been held to this weird double standard, as if we should just naturally expect better from them over Microsoft for some reason. This is a non-fucking-story. Or at least, it's not a Sony-specific story.

#20 Posted by oldenglishC (922 posts) -

@psylah: That showed up as "You mean SONu00a5" in my notifications tab. I had to check the actual post to make sure that I didn't just have a small stroke.

#21 Edited by MAGZine (435 posts) -

@joshwent said:

Held accountable for what, though? These were interns from a University who were coerced into doing assembly line jobs. That sucks. But apparently they were putting manuals into boxes and putting stickers on things and the like. It's not like they were plucked from their beds at night and made to work the oars of a Galleon while being incessantly whipped with food hanging just out of reach of their starvingly withered hands. The shitty part is that they didn't get the fun on-the-job experience they expected, and instead did boring work.

I was once hired as a delivery guy for a restaurant, my wage being less than others because I'd presumably get a lot of tips. Well, there were no deliveries, so I ended up having to do the same line prep work the others were doing but getting paid much less. That sucked, but it's very, very far from a human rights violation.

It's good to be weary of "sweat shop" situations, but this news just isn't about that.

just because you were swindled into doing something outside of your job description doesn't mean that it is acceptable for companies to do it.

If you're at somewhere to study engineering, you should not be working OT on an assembly line. What's worse is that workers aren't as empowered over there to step away. Say what you will, these workers had no option.

#22 Posted by ArtelinaRose (1830 posts) -

I like how the press is spinning this against the PS4 when Foxconn makes parts for many electronics makers, not just Sony. Including, but limited to, Microsoft and Nintendo. Also Sony has no control over Foxconn.

Basically!

Online
#24 Edited by MariachiMacabre (7039 posts) -

@misogynist_the_klown said:

I like how the press is spinning this against the PS4 when Foxconn makes parts for many electronics makers, not just Sony. Including, but limited to, Microsoft and Nintendo. Also Sony has no control over Foxconn.

Basically!

DON'T BE SO LOGICAL.

#25 Edited by connerthekewlkid (1799 posts) -

@marokai: EVERYBODY called out Mircosoft for being arrogant and same for Sony for the statement at gamescon, no company is being "singled out" by the press.

#26 Posted by Marokai (2787 posts) -

@connerthekewlkid said:

@marokai: EVERYBODY called out Mircosoft for being arrogant and same for Sony for the statement at gamescon, no company is being "attacked" by the press.

"Everybody" is more than a little bit of an overstatement. There were plenty of useful idiots in the press that were making excuses for Microsoft right up until E3, when the heat on Microsoft became completely overpowering. Even still, immediately after when Sony explicitly said they weren't going to enforce any kind of DRM or used-game controls, Polygon, Kotaku, and Adam Sessler continued to rain on Sony's parade by saying there was still secret DRM in there somewhere.

I'm not saying there's some sort of vast, anti-Sony conspiracy, but the American press specifically does seem to have a bit of a blind-spot when it comes to the Xbox division of Microsoft. Microsoft's arrogance and bad practices tend to get shrugged shoulders because they're also the preferred platform by most of the American enthusiast press, while everyone treats Sony like they're the older brother who should "know better" and be held to a higher standard. It took Neogaf basically forming armed rebellion before the press turned against Microsoft over the always-on stuff, and even so, Penny Arcade, Sessler, Kotaku, Polygon, have spent the last three and ahalf months basically concern trolling over every little story that pops up about Sony and giving Microsoft the repeated benefit of the doubt.

Forum users and the international press have been an effective counter-balance, but I think anyone who pays attention is crazy for not noticing an obvious uphill climb Sony has had to make with much of the American gaming press. There's been a half dozen of these little random controversies about Sony that people keep trying to make a thing. This is even setting aside how some keep trying to insist on equivalence between the two platforms and seeming hesitant to concede that the Ps4 is in any way a better purchasing choice. Patrick compared the console launch to a Presidential election earlier in the year, and he was right in at least one respect; the media is obsessed with perpetuating the horserace.

#27 Posted by Captain_Felafel (1552 posts) -

Large Chinese company engaging in shady business practices, story at eleven.

#28 Posted by Animasta (14633 posts) -

@marokai: you are reading way too much into everything. I've heard way more things that Microsoft has done than Sony, and even the backpedaling is couched in "well they're getting there, but it's still not as good as the PS4"

#29 Posted by Marokai (2787 posts) -

@animasta: Eh, I would get that feeling only if I purely got my news from the Bombcast, which has been pretty consistently fair. Browsing Neogaf on a regular basis tends to lead one to noticing a lot of nitpicking, sure, but when Polygon has something asinine, or Adam Sessler deliberately mischaracterizes the price of the Xbox One in comparison to the Ps4 multiple times, and so on, Neogaf does prove an effective aggregate for what's going on in the American gaming press at-large.

#30 Posted by isomeri (1217 posts) -

@psylah said:

@oldenglishc:

You mean SON¥

Clever girl.

But yeah like many others have already mentioned in this thread, this is mainly the fault of Foxconn. Maybe Sony pressured them into a work schedule which mandated the use of unpaid interns and maybe Sony should have monitored the production more closely as to not let news like this get out to the press. But most of the blame should be placed on Foxconn.