What's worse is that throughout this entire year Foxconn has repeatedly come under fire in the news. Apple had originally hired the Fair Labor Association to investigate claims of underpaid and overworked employees at Foxconn's plants back in March of this year, as reported by the BBC, when claims of employee abuse began bubble to surface...again.
Back in August of this year Apple had received word that employee treatment at Foxconn plants had increased substantially and less than 3% of workers were being mistreated, overworked or underpaid. As reported by Bloomberg, Foxconn was tagged with having to correct more than 284 changes after more than 50 violations were leveled against them.
Again, all of this is well before the child labor incident that recently occurred at the Foxconn plant responsible for churning out the Wii U. Foxconn's excuse for using kids was that they were falling behind in manufacturing demand and they needed workers to fill out the ranks. Ah, there's nothing like threatening kids and any potential future education unless they work overtime churning out overpriced products for first-world customers. Capitalism at its finest.
However, I don't even blame Foxconn for this anymore...I blame Nintendo. We can expect Foxconn from here on out to do everything dirty under the sun that they can, but Nintendo should know better. Foxconn has been doing this kind of crap for years. Nintendo knew they were stepping into a bed of thorns with a corporate succubus, yet Reggie and the gang did so without a second thought. I'm sure the execs were thinking "Cheap manufacturing, an overpriced console and lots of hungry consumers equals instant success". It probably looked like a perfect way to stay in the black throughout the entire holiday season and keep operating costs to a minimum to round out an otherwise lackluster year.
Nintendo isn't the only culprit in this mess, though. Foxconn services Apple and their iDevices, Sony and the PlayStation brand, Microsoft and the Xbox 360, as well as plenty of other top-name brands. Nintendo just-so-happened to be the unlucky corporate sucker caught with their pants down and their latest protuberant product stuffed firmly up between the legs of underage workers.
Now, Nintendo has mentioned that they'll be investigating the matter but we all know this means that they'll do whatever they can PR wise to just make this go away. Just like in the past few years, all those previous investigations into Foxconn's filthy little habits hasn't turned the devil away from dancing under a black moon.
It's a tough call to make as a consumer because we don't have a whole lot of choice in the matter. Gamers shouldn't have to get involved with the corporate politics that dictates how and when we get to have fun, but at the same time young kids didn't ask to be shuffled out to a factory with their education and livelihood threatened by corporate boogeymen if they don't do what they're told. If that makes you queasy, you're still human.
Oh yeah, and have you heard this joke: How many 14-year-old Chinese kids does it take to screw together a Wii U? I wouldn't know, but you can ask Nintendo.