Jagex

www.jagex.com

Jagex Reviews

Updated November 12, 2014
Updated November 12, 2014
69 Reviews
2.1
69 Reviews
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Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard
Mark Gerhard
33 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The people are great, all interesting, capable and all care about the finished product (in 9 reviews)

  • Oh and the benefits that we get, such as free fruit and gym membership (in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • In the past senior management was ignorant of the competition and thus lacked vision (in 9 reviews)

  • Generally very poor relations between upper management and development teams (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

20 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    stay for your friends, leave for the management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Jagex full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    The people you work with is the only reason to stay

    Cons

    Worst inconsistent management ever. At least MG listened to his own rhetoric when he told the TFU team "if your heart's not in it, leave …" one week later he left, closely followed by a some of the senior staff, then the CFO and finally over two-thirds of the TFU team in a mass lay-off.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Dont manage. Leave that to the people who actually play and love games, those that are not there to make a project "commercially viable", those who respect the gaming community enough to tell the truth. And don't shift full responsibility to the team to save the game when it's been failing from the start.

    Oh, and have a plan from the start and don't keep adding layers of fluff to appease the board/hide the lack of a game from the players.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 8 people found this helpful  

    All talk, no walk

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - RuneScape Team in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - RuneScape Team in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I have been working at Jagex full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The people working at Jagex are what make the company a pleasant environment. It really can be, and is, the kind of place you can make friends for life. In large part, staff have a lot of passion for what they do and a willingness to learn and succeed.

    Good benefits, including on-site canteen, gym membership and a healthy pot for quarterly team outings/jollies.

    Cons

    Echoing many of the other reviews, many of the pros listed above are tarnished by an inept, directionless and disconnected executive team. Executives are often known to veto ideas, or push through their own with little regard to their impact on the wider picture. Transformers Universe as a project has been a disaster, owing to multiple iterations of design and an inability of those "up top" to decide what the game is going to shape up to be. Delays are often used as an opportunity to force or rush out more broken features, leading to further delays, leading to more new features, rinse and repeat.

    Jagex is a company that can put on a show, in many ways - team outings (where budget permits), press events, recruitment, even the office is jazzed up to leave visitors in awe. However, this is about as far as it goes, quickly scratching beneath the surface shows that there is often no substance to the overworked company hype and propaganda machine.

    Jagex are willing to pour of millions into wasteful Facilities projects, fruitless advertising and into recruitment to maintain the perpetual influx of new staff to replace those leaving. Yet is seemingly unable to pay out bonuses or even contemplate the idea of market rate salaries. Do not ever expect more than a meagre increase in pay each year. Promotions rarely come with an associated payrise due to "budget reasons" and are instead delayed to annual salary reviews.

    The company is becoming the laughing stock of the games industry, owing to an inability to release a second notable title in nearly 14 years after RuneScape.

    As a previous review states, a large majority of new staff consist mainly of young, enthusiastic graduates or RuneScape players with rose-tinted specs, lured by a cool looking office and salesman-like recruitment team, often too naive to notice that they are being taken advantage of - by having their barely-above-minimum-wage salary justified by the word "Junior" prefixed on.

    On a potentially contentious point - the company have gone through several iterations of "company values". Whilst I applaud the concept, it is often largely misused as a form of personality contract and a trump card played by managers and HR to get their own way. There have been numerous instances of long term staff (i.e. out of probation) demoted or dismissed on the spot due to not following said values.
    The result is Mark Gerhard living in a dreamworld, expecting employees to - without fail or question - love their work, love Jagex, and for everything they do, regardless of effort and time, to contribute to the greater good of the company. If you do not - you are either pushed out, or thrown out. Whilst this is in theory, a pleasant vision for employee culture, it smacks of a bizarre authoritarian, communist approach to working life.

    With the CEO leaving, I do hope that the board use this as an opportuity to refresh the executive lineup, otherwise the company is sure to fail, though perhaps not immediately.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Resign - you are the problem - not those working for you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 6 people found this helpful  

    If Jagex is ever to succeed, the CEO must go

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I worked at Jagex full-time

    Pros

    Decent staff benefits including a great canteen, bike maintenance, legendary parties, but this doesn't make up for low salary which can buy a lot of this.

    If you work at Jagex, you will meet some truly great and talented people.

    Cons

    Poor salary, unless you make it into the clique.
    Poor job security. Lay-offs and departures at all levels are common. Staff turnover is high.
    Poor job satisfaction as staff have to pander to last minute changes instead of using the time to excel at their profession.
    Proprietary systems which hamper rather than assist developers.

    Jagex has some very talented people, but the company relies on a steady flow of starstruck, talented youngsters, as it does not pay a decent salary and staff turnover is high, so a lot of effort goes into glossy recruitment.
    If more effort went into staff retention, they might strike a happier balance.
    The hours are long "as it's not an overtime culture", yet staff regularly have to do overtime - why?

    This is why. Gerhard has a knee-jerk, last minute change style of "management". He has an ego the size of a planet so it's a shame he has no planning or people skills. He prefers to grandstand in one of his APVs and court the press. He surrounds himself with yes men. If you can get into his clique, your job is a little more secure but not guaranteed.
    Anyone who disagrees with him, better have another job lined up.
    He rarely, if ever, walks the floor and talks to the people who work for him, he certainly never listens. Once a year he might give a long-winded, bizarre and repetitive speech at one of the company "jollies".

    Under his leadership, he tried to grow Jagex into a "games studio", but many games were built or licensed and failed and many people were laid off due to bad planning (or lack of planning) and bad decision making.
    A lot of hard work is wasted as decisions are made at the end rather than at the start of a project lifecycle. Listening to experienced staff at the start would help overcome this.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Gerhard, move on and give Jagex a chance to recover from the damage you have done.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    OK as a job, forget it as a career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Development in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Development in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I have been working at Jagex full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Nice people to work with.
    Some fun team events.

    Cons

    No training, no personal growth.
    Terrible management with continual changes of direction.
    HR team haven't a clue of what goes on.
    Free fruit doesn't make up for no career progression.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Being 'agile' doesn't mean it is OK to change direction every day. That just wastes everyone's time and makes management look like idiots.
    Making changes to RuneScape inevitably upsets some of the established players. Unless the changes bring in many more players then the result is an overall loss. Changing things back again doesn't bring back the players you lost but can lead to more losses.
    There are plenty of MOBA games; Transformers needs to be much better than the competition to succeed - which it isn't.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Talented passionate staff, constrained by visionless and inexperienced leadership.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Game Designer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Game Designer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I worked at Jagex full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Colleagues are creative, talented and passionate. Facilities are good. Company jollies are impressive, if you like that sort of thing.

    Cons

    Most of the executive layer have no experience of making games. Ineffective execs seem to get shuffled sideways rather than leave. Execs and senior staff with Industry experience, who challenge decisions, get pushed out or leave in frustration. I left a year or so ago, and hoped this might change, but all the signs suggest it hasn't.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Completely re-think your approach to making games. You have the talent and resources to be making multiple quality games a year, and give Jagex a chance of a future after Runescape, but you haven't managed to produce one. Why is that? Making games is always a gamble. Don't risk everything on one or two over-ambitious projects, then pull out of them when they don't look like they'll be next 'Runescape' on day one. Spread your bets on smaller innovative projects and allow the talent you have a chance to shine, and then let PLAYERS decide which ones deserve the big money to progress.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 8 people found this helpful  

    Too many cooks, all making different dogs dinners, with no utensils

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I worked at Jagex full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Was a stable work place in the time I was there. I never had any doubts that I would be paid
    - HR Formalities were very good. A process for everything.
    - The canteen was fantastic. Really the best thing about Jagex.
    - Interesting and intelligent colleagues. There are a lot of friends to be made here.

    Cons

    - Virtually no ethnic diversity
    - Small age range of staff. Too graduate friendly - which is abused by management knowing that they don't know any better. "Benefits" and parties are dangled at you in the hope it will be enough to make you forget all their sins.
    - The technologies in use are all either old, or proprietry. Meaning you end up with no transferrable skills and rarely learn anything that is useful outside the company walls.
    - Stingy on hardware. Many developers working on 5+ year old machines with poor spec.
    - Truly ridiculous network set up. Architecture makes some tasks that should be trivial into something that can take you days and completely block your work process in the meanwhile.
    - Unable to work from home.
    - Management is very unecessarily secretive and almost everything turns into gossip and is therefore misinterpreted
    - Uninformed management. Many people higher up take decisions on things without doing their due dilligence. In some cases, just pulling rank on issues they know nothing about and have specifically hired experts to do for them.
    - Projects are constantly changed, even down to the last few days before release. Major structural modifications are called for, or large new features demanded with no viable reason or sign off.
    - More than half of the project I worked on were never launched. Incredibly demoralising and frustrating to so regularly have months of you work thrown out the window. Can't imagine how much it must cost them each time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trust your staff to do their jobs

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Inept management, great colleagues.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I have been working at Jagex full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Many great and highly skilled people work for the company
    Good location
    Friendly staff

    Cons

    Unfortunately none of those great people are in executive positions.
    Executives are spiteful and will pursue personal vendettas against other companies even if it damages their own and results in projects having to be delayed or canned.

    Tight schedules set by executives for projects are often torpedoed by last minute changes by executives, and then just as those changes are implemented deciding to change back again resulting in the project either losing quality, being late and over-budget, or cancelled with the blame falling on the staff working on it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Awful, aboslutely horrible.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I have been working at Jagex full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Nice people, higher management is terrible though

    Cons

    Constant overtime, always needing somethign to be done, AKEID.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Blah blah blah

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 7 people found this helpful  

    'Playing' at game development

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I worked at Jagex full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    - Friendly and vibrant staff
    - Free fruit each morning
    - Free evening food

    Cons

    - Horrendous project mismanagement
    - Management completely out of touch with market trends
    - Staff walking out (or being fired) almost daily
    - Every problem was 'fixed' with a nonsensical reaction
    - Low salary

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Leave. You're running a company based on fun, passion and creativity into the ground

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 8 people found this helpful  

    A lucky company headed by an incompetent executive team

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Management in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Management in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)

    I worked at Jagex full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    - Great place to work in terms of city, office quality, space
    - Very good team members with a lot to give
    - Still making loads of money, isn't going bust next year
    - Great HR team, much more structured than in comparable companies
    - Parties are awesome -when they happen.

    Cons

    - Worst executive team ever. Have no clue on how to make a video game, and don't listen to people who actually know
    - In relation to the above, the people who know how to make games and therefore challenge the executive team in their decisions can't progress in the company, so they leave or are let go
    - The company has only made one successful game, RuneScape, which is paying for the rest of the projects, none of them having ever made any money. It's lucky that RuneScape is still there but it won't be there forever.
    - There is a mentality of ignoring the obstacles and sticking to legacy ideas and systems which make the team much less productive than they could be (two different networks, security system more intense than in a central bank, reliance on internally developed language, absence or misuse of basic versioning systems, etc.)
    - The bravado attitude of the executives is just that: attitude. They've lied as much to their investors as they keep lying to their team.

    The feeling I've had in this company was akin to being on the Titanic, with the captain yelling "Iceberg? What iceberg?". That same one who mentioned that he had fired more people than in ex-Yugoslavia. You get the picture...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Resign. And stop lying to your investors and partners.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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140 Cambridge Science Park (Photo thanks to Geograph user Keith Edkins, Some Rights Reserved)

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