BioWare

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BioWare Reviews

Updated August 19, 2014
Updated August 19, 2014
54 Reviews

3.4
54 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Andrew Wilson
1 Rating

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Excellent work environment, very open line of communication with superiors (in 7 reviews)

  • The tiny perks - free breakfast, ice cream, lax work environment (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • Unfortunately the gaming industry sees a lot of change from time to time, due to natural restructuring post lauch (in 8 reviews)

  • This creates a very distinct caste system between the "have's" (the full time employees) and the "have not's" (the contract workers) (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Very challenging and satisfying.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Outsourcing Coordinator  in  Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Outsourcing Coordinator in Austin, TX

    Pros

    Great work environment. Everyone is hardworking and excited about the product. There are a lot of team buiding events that make the weeks enjoyable.

    Cons

    The only down side is that it is a volatile industry. Gaming companies have to stay competitive, and thuse there is a lot of transitions that happen within the departments, and between companies in the gaming industry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Communication is a difficult aspect to manage in any company. Bioware has a lot of highly trained, technical people. These talented people dont necessarily communicate with eachother very well, however. My advice would be to cultivate leaders and managers that can pull these talented people together, and leverage their skills more effectively.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Two-thirds of Bioware's current workforce is contract employees

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

    Pros

    Free breakfast every morning. Free tacos on Fridays. A chance to work with some amazingly talented and creative people.

    Cons

    Over two-thirds of the employees are contract workers. This creates a very distinct caste system between the "have's" (the full time employees) and the "have not's" (the contract workers). There is an unspoken implication that if a contractor works hard enough that they will be offered a full time position, but often this isn't the case. Who gets hired and who doesn't is incredibly arbitrary. Also, there is an expectation that the employee will sacrifice their lives and the lives of their families to work whatever overtime hours the supervisors demand. One "crunch" period consisted of 12 straight days of work. 7 of those 12 were 12 HOUR days. The overtime was mandatory and contract employees were fired if they did not comply with these demands.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do not treat the contract employees as if they are juvenile delinquents in a boarding school. Be more sympathetic to work/life balance issues. You're making a GAME, not curing cancer.

    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    A surprising amount of dysfunction for an otherwise awesome company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    Pros

    Reasonable pay, top notch benefits, free breakfast, unique perks (fitness allowance/transit pass program). Lots of fun, well intentioned staff events and food rewards. Plenty of genuinely good and friendly people.

    Cons

    So much awesome with weird pockets of dysfunction. Some groups almost feel external in how disconnected they are from the company culture and values. A lot of your usual politics, favouritism, and underlying tension from group to group. The vets will regale you with stories of BioWare past, but there are remaining signs of such a tight-knit group of like minded folks working on industry leading games. EA assimilation is well underway, and you're trained to dread it and resist it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's probably time to let go of that empty promise of maintaining the integrity of the old BioWare ways and identity.. long time employees know what's what, and new employees just get a confused view of the big picture. Upper management needs to look beyond their direct reports and open their eyes to the massive disconnects that exist, and then care enough to address it.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Great Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Character Artist  in  Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Character Artist in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    Pros

    Great project. Great people. It is a very thoughtful workplace and they care about what you want for your career. It felt like working in a big family where your concern is shared by all the others.

    Cons

    The salary is not as good as other US company. The location for the main office is bad. I was there for years and I feel like I missed out so much in life because of the remoteness of the place.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They should pay their artist a bit more and move the whole studio to Vancouver. I would definitely go back to Bioware if they ever did that.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    More politics than you would think.

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

    Pros

    Great benefits and very talented people. Many debs truly love the games they make.

    Cons

    If you are not part of the old guard you will have trouble fitting in. They do very little to innovate, either in terms of the products they release or in their work methodologies. They have become exactly like EA in how they treat their employees and dishonesty abounds.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Become leaders and take action quickly when it is called for.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Awesome place to Work!!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Montreal, QC (Canada)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Montreal, QC (Canada)

    Pros

    Great projects and great teams!! There are so many passionate people that continue to push boundaries each and everyday. The studio has a deep desire to put the staff and fans first, which creates an awesome cultural work space.

    Cons

    Sometimes there are a few bad eggs that seem determined to derail the project or team goals or just simply have a hard time getting on board or fitting in. I don't think this is unique to BioWare, just something that becomes tiring.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the great work lining up amazing projects and continue to focus on staff and fans first. Senior management definitely takes to heart quality in the workplace and quality in the products.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Schizophrenic and arrogant, working here left scars

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    Pros

    Portions of the development teams do incredibly exciting things. Small portions of what made this company great still remain. If you get attached to one of these parts of the organization you will have an amazing experience.

    A reasonable amount of free beer.

    About the only option if you want to work somewhere exciting and live in Edmonton.

    Cons

    ...the rest of the company is a bloated ineffective organization plagued by immature behaviors and a lack of big picture thinking. Personal agendas run wild, with the kind of backstabbing you'd expect from an all girls high school. People who try to assess/address/improve the situation are singled out and persecuted, and their turnover is high - almost all of them moving on to better companies. My departure from the company was one of the most unprofessional and inhuman experiences I've had. I am shocked to see the gap between what they profess as values and how they conduct themselves in person.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You profess humility. Perhaps learn what it means.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Overall a great company to work for

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

    Pros

    Company values focused on people and a really good work/life balance

    Cons

    not enough career opportunities to move up

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide more career opportunities of growth internally of the company

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Could be so much better.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative  in  Galway (Ireland)
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative in Galway (Ireland)

    Pros

    Benefits are pretty nice - the salary for such a position is quite high. Add in game points, allowances for hardware, and so on, and it's not bad.
    You also get your fingers in a /lot/ of EA games, if you don't mind a support position. A huge number are supported here.
    Culture is mostly good - lots of employees are gamers as well, and it's easy to chat them up.

    Cons

    However, support seems to be the limitation. There is very little opportunities to advance in any meaningful way. There is little to no help with career progression short of the occasional suggestion of an opening in the same studio.
    There is no progression to Senior representative or Team leader - if you're at the base Customer Service job, you're staying there unless you find another employer, or know someone in another studio in the first place.
    Work hours fit the customer base demands, but are rather brutal on the free time - even if you feel like doing things, you're often too tired to do so for a day.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More opportunities, more help with advancement, and more actually giving credit to people who do a lot of the hard work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    A great company in a mediocre city

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer  in  Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    Pros

    Good work-life balance. A lot of employees are older, with kids; as a result, the focus is on sustainable work practices rather than a bunch of twenty-somethings competing to see who can work the most hours in a week. Although crunch does occur now and then, the company makes an effort to minimize it. Lots of friendly, intelligent coworkers. Generous time off allowance at Christmas. Free breakfast. Plenty of opportunities to work on high-profile, AAA projects. Good job security; although there have been selected layoffs, BioWare has largely been unaffected by sweeping cuts. The studio general manager, Aaryn Flynn is a genuinely nice guy who cares about his employees. Alberta has the lowest tax rate in all of Canada.

    Cons

    Edmonton is an ugly, boring city. The winters are cold, dark and long -- and as a result, BioWare has a tough time recruiting new talent. There is no significant "tech" presence in the city; if you get laid off, your only other option is to go work for the oilfield. Cost of living in Edmonton is high (although not as high as say, Vancouver.) Salaries are lower than what you could be making elsewhere.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be daring & confident -- blaze your own trail rather than constantly trying to follow in the footsteps of other successful games. Be accountable -- recognize and correct failures of leadership. Continue to hire aggressively from around the industry. Raise salaries to attract and retain top talent.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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