NCsoft

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NCsoft Reviews

Updated November 11, 2014
Updated November 11, 2014
60 Reviews
1.9
60 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
NCsoft Chairman, President, and CEO Kim Tack Jin
Kim Tack Jin
31 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • It also had excellent work-life balance (in 3 reviews)

  • It's a great start in the game industry, and if they happen to make a game you love, it could be worth it to work there (in 4 reviews)


Cons
  • Very corporate and tightly controlled by Korean HQ (in 5 reviews)

  • Management of the Seattle office was abysmal (in 5 reviews)

More Highlights

23 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    Sad what's become of this company.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Hard Worker in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Hard Worker in Austin, TX

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

    Pros

    Lately, the last few years - none. There was a time working here was like most game companies, fun and exciting and interesting, but the last few years has been a nightmare. Wish I'd have left sooner. I guess like everyone else I'll also say, "cheap snacks, good parking, good benefits."

    Cons

    I had a lot to write, but then I read all the other reviews prior to this. What else is there to say? Well I'll still try. The reviews for the last two years have been accurate and prophetic. NCSOFT is a terrible company in every regard. The Austin leadership is the worst you can imagine. What's happening in Austin is exactly what happened in the Seattle office. They take it apart slowly and keep telling you "everything is fine, everyone is safe." How low do you have to be to keep re-assuring people their jobs are safe while you blatantly dismantle operations? The last decent managers voluntarily left Austin a year ago. Whole teams up and quit being fed up with NCSOFT's horrible management and abuse. I guess we should have paid attention closer.

    I don't know what's worse, the way the Western executives have driven this company into the ground over the last few years (the worst being the current and last one), or how badly Westerners are treated by Koreans. There are constant rumors of threatened lawsuits for discrimination (sexual and racial), constant talk about out how Koreans don't want any westerners in the company. HR in this company is a joke, they are only here to tow the company line and tell you why you should put up with being treated like garbage. HR is supposed to protect the employees. HR at NCSOFT is just a propaganda arm for the Koreans to convince you you're wrong and being abused is okay. Honestly I don't know how they can live with themselves.

    This company has no good product except Guild Wars and ArenaNet basically runs itself. The NCSOFT managed products in the West are terrible. Wildstar is a failure and a joke in the industry. Nine years to bring a product to market and its just about dead in 6 months. Carbine's management should be considered criminal.

    What else is there for NCWEST? Nothing.

    No idea what NCSOFT will do with their west coast studio but Austin is done for sure. If you're one of the remaining workers in Austin and you are surprised when its finally shut down, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you're one of the remaining leaders in Austin, you should be ashamed of yourself for being a part of the lie and abuse.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I guess this has to go to the Korean management since they own the company. First, finish cleaning house with the Western executives that have driven this company to ruin. Good start in Carbine. One more to go in Austin. Second, give it up in the West as a publisher. Go back to Korea, make Asian games which you're really good at, and then let someone else publish them in the West as niche games, which is all they will ever be. You don't know the Western market or how to pick Western leaders - and you never will.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 7 people found this helpful  

    Run while you can

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Development in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Software Development in Austin, TX

    I worked at NCsoft full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    For those in Austin there is still time to hop off of the ship, jump on your own terms. Even if the most recent entry into the market was a success Austin's future appeared to be in doubt. What did NC do to the Paragon office? What did NC do in Seattle? Take the reigns and plan your departure on your own terms.

    Cons

    No leadership, no direction, no support, 100% CYA. The Austin office is void of any Sr management talent, it's hands down the most incompetent executive/leadership team I have ever been around. Apparently this is what happens when you drop a customer service manager into a senior executive position.

    There will be no career advancement in Austin, it was consistently suggested in passing that I consider moving out to California even though "Austin is safe" and executives promised to "routinely visit the office". As the office and career development opportunities continue to shrink, don't blame NCSoft, you need to look in the mirror and figure out if this is the best position to put you and your family.

    Check the NC careers page, does it look like they are replacing any of the Austin employees that have departed? Why do you think that's the case?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 7 people found this helpful  

    There is no way this location will survive much longer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Austin, TX

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

    Pros

    $0.25 snacks

    Early access to mediocre, over-budget games in a dinosaur business model.

    "Never-ending Change."

    Cons

    In abusive relationships, the abused often begins to side with the abuser. It’s a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome and a little bit of co-dependency. Being psychologically abused is no fun -- and at NCSOFT, you can look forward to being physically abused as well! Physical, in the sense that you are expected to work 60, 80, or more hours per week without compensation. Anxiety and stress hormones will disrupt your work day, your home life, and your health in general. Studies show that ever-present stressors, especially financial or job security related, are dramatically directly linked to increased heart disease, chronic pain and yes even mortality rates.

    Don’t let this dissuade you from joining NCSOFT. Let their motto dissuade you. “Never-ending Change.” This is the company slogan and it should come with the disclaimer: "Warning: You will be asked in harsh, accusatory and threatening tones to perform inane, illogical technological miracles. You will be told to move the company from one platform (be it a support ticketing system or a backend billing system) to another within two weeks’ time, starting two weeks ago. When you accomplish this miracle, it will be thrown out since the "leadership" changed their minds a dozen times in the last week. You will be given access to the database after months of requests, and when you see it, you will realize that the slop software pumped out of Korean HQ is no better than the slop management decisions pumped out of Austin."

    Join NCSOFT and you will bask in the glory of being promoted to a Supervisor or Lead, or if you have no real job skills then its Producer or Senior Manager for you! You will ring in each new year with successively more depressing holiday parties, where fewer and fewer people bother to show up. You will marvel at decisions made by the Austin executive and you will realize only in the game industry can you get promoted from customer support rep to executive with no experience or education related to operating a multimillion dollar company.

    The new slogan should be, “NCSOFT! Come for the ability to say you work in the game industry. Stay because you hate yourself.”

    If all that fails to convince you, no worries. Even if you get employed by NCSOFT in Austin, you will be out of work within a year. There is no way this location will survive much longer. Don’t let this be you. Run, do not walk, away from this company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be honest with employees so they can start looking for jobs now.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

    There is no future for this location.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Austin, TX

    I worked at NCsoft full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    NCSOFT Austin had some pros, mainly the people (the workers, not the executives) and of course the $.25 snacks/drinks. While working there I built some good professional and personal relationships among the real workers. When I say "real workers" I mean the people that did the day-to-day work, not the senior management and executives. The people that actually did the day-to-day work made NCSOFT bearable. Unfortunately most of these people have smartened up and left.

    Cons

    The C-Level executives and the senior management (with only a couple exceptions over the years) are useless and have ruined NCSOFT. Every few years Korea would bring in a new set of executives. They would come in with big ideas to get Korea on board, stay for a couple of years, destroy half the company, and leave with fat packages. Korea finally got fooled enough times and brought in their own executives over the last couple years. Yes, it's their company and they can run it how they wish, but they know jack about the West and their only remaining Western executive is running the company into the ground.

    NCSOFT low balls every candidate the hire. If you're not a Director or higher, or are not part of the bi-annual executive change up, or are not a friend of an executive, you are given the bare minimum. It was very demoralizing to see friends of executives come "work" for NCOSFT, get completely fake and useless jobs, collect large salaries/bonuses for doing nothing, and then move on to the next place with their executive buddies.

    In Korea it is common practice for employees to put in 14/18 hour days. This work ethic is expected to carry over into the West. Korea seems to forget that in Asia working for NCSOFT is well respected. In the West when you mention NCSOFT rarely anyone knows the name and if they do, they don't think much of it. Employees work long hours for their bosses, not for the company. It's sad when employees could care less about the company, but would do anything to help out their manager or co-workers. I would do anything for my team and my boss, but when they left I followed, there's no loyalty to NCSOFT or to its "executive."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    NCSOFT is a publisher, they should start acting like it and stop letting the studios and fake executives run everything into the ground. You can't just hire a CS guy to run a multi-million dollar company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    Horrible culture, terrible hours, incompetent management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Customer Service in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Customer Service in Austin, TX

    I have been working at NCsoft full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    The health benefits are good, and there are $0.25 sodas and snacks. Covered parking is available in Austin, which is nice to keep your car out of the Texas heat.

    Cons

    NCSOFT is a hostile environment with constant chaos and confusion which they call "reorganization." One of the core values is "never ending change," which translates to "never commit to any direction and abuse your employees by constantly changing their reporting structure, job duties, and priorities." They've repeated the same mistakes every couple of years since I've been here and refuse to accept that gaming in the West is different than in Korea and our customers aren't the same. They want to do everything the same as they do in Korea, which doesn't work here, but they are too stubborn and prideful to admit it.

    Austin is about as bad as it can be now. Our last decent manager recently quit with almost no notice, and another senior manager left at the end of May. They are not replacing one at all, and replacing the other in California. It's obvious the Austin office will close and the new office in California will support everything. The real leadership in Austin, the ones that actually got work done, started jumping ship last Fall and they are all long since gone. NCSOFT didn't replace any of them and it's been a desperate struggle by Korea to keep things running ever since. Austin lost all its developers, the entire team quit in the last 6-8 months (all left voluntarily), because of horrible mistreatment by the executives and refusal by management to choose a single, clear direction. The only good news is that it looks like they're finally getting rid of the last of the incompetent Western executives (the only one remaining is obviously just a figure head).

    In customer service, we're just waiting for our severance packages, and several of us have already lined up jobs for when they finally admit this office is done. Everywhere else that I can see it is already over. The developers are all gone. The few technical people left who I know are miserable and searching elsewhere. Two BI team members left at the end of May. BI and QA are working ridiculous hours due to very bad, recent technology decisions. Recruiters are actively headhunting even lower-level employees - the word is out. This place is done, and even if it weren't, it's a miserable environment without room for advancement.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop throwing money away trying to rebuild your name here, hire a third-party publisher for Korean games in the West, and call it a day.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    Aimless floundering executives, long hours, no respect.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX

    I worked at NCsoft full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Its hard to come up with a single good reason to work here. Its awful. If I had to come up with one, I guess I would say that if you are desperate to work in the game industry and you need an in, you can start here and then get out as soon as possible.

    Cons

    Horrible leadership. Korean HQ is completely out of touch, has no idea how to run a company in the US, and has no idea how to make, market, or sell games in the US. They are more concerned with ramming Korean games down your throat than making good Western games for a Western market. The US based leadership is even worse (which I suppose is still Korea's fault, they picked them). For years the US executives that have stomped through the western organization have been nothing but a series of failures and incompetence culminating in the worst of the worst running the company now. Running it into the ground that is. Working at NCSOFT is one of the most depressing experiences you could have professionally. You will be worked like slave, underpaid, and get to watch executives and directors get patted on the back for your work while they destroy the company from the inside out. Then they cash out and you can brace yourself for the next round of horrid executive disasters.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give it up. NCSOFT as a Western publishing organization is completely dead. If you want to be in games in the West, just buy or fund studios and then let someone else publish them. Better yet, just stick to Korea and China, at least you seem to understand that market.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 9 people found this helpful  

    If you want to learn how not to run a company and how not treat people, this is the place for you.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Manager in Austin, TX

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

    Pros

    There are only two reasons to work at NCSOFT.

    1) You are a mediocre performer and you need a place to be mediocre, and you don't mind chaos and politics. This isn't a cynical joke. If you simply want a place to be marginal NCSOFT is it.

    2) You want to get in the game industry and no one else will hire you (although if that's true, you should probably re-evaluate your situation and why you want to be in the game industry).

    Cons

    At the lower levels, NCOSFT is just long hours, low pay, no appreciation, and terrible working conditions. If you are manager level or above NCOSFT is all that plus horrid chaos, politics. Forget getting any respect if you're not Korean and really forget getting respect if you're woman. NCSOFT is run by very immature executives and Koreans that have no concept of American culture and don't care to learn. In fact they look down on Americans and they don't hide that fact. If you're an American at NCSOFT, you're a second class citizen. If you're an American woman, you aren't even that. Working at NCSOFT you can expect "the grind" to be everyday. Expect no appreciation, expect low pay, and not much else.

    The management at NCSOFT is a constant stream of uneducated, unskilled, unqualified "insiders" that just seem to recycle the same old failures. Expect a constant stream of cronies that just give each other jobs from one game company to the other. Anyone with any real skill and talent leaves NCSOFT as soon as they can. That leaves behind only the worst of the worst. Don't let the propaganda of working for a game company fool you. Its 2014, most companies have all the benefits that used to be exclusive to game industry; flextime, comp time, casual environment, fun, etc., but even if that wasn't the norm for most companies, NCOSFT has none of that anyway. If you work for NCSOFT expect to be put through the meat grinder and then told you should be grateful.

    If you are thinking of signing on in Austin, don't. This is only personal opinion, but the Austin office will likely be gone within a year. Its obvious to everyone here. One team after another is closed down or shipped out to CA. They did the same with the Seattle office, dismantled it piece by piece while pretending it wasn't closing. Then it just disappeared. I'd expect the same in Austin within the year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get real executives, directors, and managers. Find people with real business skills, real degrees, and real business accomplishments (being an ex game master, a CS rep, or QA tester is not a substitute for a Harvard MBA or Fortune 50 experience). Look outside the game industry for real business executives and managers that know how to deliver a solid product. You can always learn the game industry but there is no substitute for solid business fundamentals. Every other industry knows this and knows business is business. NCSOFT, you are not special. Domain knowledge is useful, but as most modern companies have realized, outsiders bring innovation and fresh perspectives. Recycling the same old failures is inbreeding and is one reason among many NCSOFT constantly fails. After 10+ years of failures in the West you'd think NCSOFT would be tired of the same old insiders ruining the company. Also try realizing this isn't Korea. Notice there is only one bright spot in all of NCSOFT; ArenaNet, and also notice it is the only part of NCSOFT run autonomously and not by Koreans or ineffective, immature executives.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Another Revolving Door Game Studio

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in Austin, TX

    I worked at NCsoft full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    - Open, connected seating structure
    - Intermingled teams creates a sense of camaraderie
    - Employees given access to full suite of studio's games

    NCsoft has had the opportunity to be a leader in the game industry, with hardwired access to the latest MMORPGs and other games out of Korea as well as a strong foothold in the west. Their infrastructure provides the possibility for significant growth and expansion.

    Cons

    - Constant Crunch hours
    - No Professional mobility
    - Conflicting and Unclear management
    - Low Pay rate
    - No benefits
    - Employees treated as disposable resources instead of valuable commodities

    Despite their prime foundation, NCsoft has squandered their resources, time and employee base by using outdated philosophies. Expect six months of employment @ long hours and low pay, with the promise of full-time conversion by managment, followed by large layoffs with no information as to why.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees like human beings. Multi-week crunch sessions followed by no-notice layoffs will show a profit in the short term, but has caused you to fail in the long run. Without a significant change in philosophy, NCsoft will wither to a small blip on the games radar.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Extremely poor Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Shared Services in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Shared Services in Seattle, WA

    I worked at NCsoft full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Lots of dedicated employees. These people work hard to ensure the games run successfully.

    Cons

    Experienced 2 layoffs in the past year and are expecting to shut down Seattle office shortly.
    Management is extremely poor. No communication. No direction or focus.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try communicating anything to employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  11.  

    US offices are depressing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA

    I worked at NCsoft full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Gain some entry level experience into the gaming industry. You get to work on some great products...not ones that were created by your own offices but those created by the Korean office.

    Cons

    Our Christmas bonus one year was a copy of the game we'd worked on. Just 1.
    Management of the Seattle office was abysmal. Dealt with an extremely nepotistic manager who wouldn't promote anyone until they'd all left and he could promote his relative. Not that she was bad, just that she didn't have the experience that others did until they all left.
    Pay was not competitive.
    NCsoft West was a total mess run by incompetence and apathy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You don't need to be wasting your money on a downtown Seattle office. Most of those employees are useless...you could probably hire a few English fluent folk out of HQ and do an equivalent job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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