16 Employee Reviews (View Most Recent)

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7 people found this helpful  

Machine Zone has a lot of ambition but requires complete commitment.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Backend Engineer  in  Palo Alto, CA
Former Employee - Backend Engineer in Palo Alto, CA

I worked at Machine Zone full-time for less than a year

Pros

The game and tech are ambitious and challenging. The people I worked with were knowledgable and competent. The compensation and benefits were excellent. They actually paid the bonuses they promised during the interview. They did at least try to work with me on the work/home balance issues.

Cons

The company is centered around people who are completely committed to the success of the company over anything else. Since so many of them spend so much time at work, the company makes efforts to provide small social opportunities daily and large ones reasonably frequently. This is a great environment, if you want to make friends at work and combine your social and professional lives. If you have a preexisting social or family life that is important to you or you just aren't very social, then the environment can feel isolating instead of inviting, like being a stranger in a large family's home.

They will try to work with you on the work/home balance issues, but the culture is still centered around presence. Management tends to rely on people they can walk up to and have a conversation with; they haven't really embraced chat or teleconferencing. If you cannot be in the office every day when the important decisions are happening, you lose effectiveness very quickly.

Also, operational and development responsibilities tend to fall in the same role for a component. Pretty much every engineer is effectively on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Start to split operational and development responsibilities and rotate people through them so that the same people are not expected to be available 100% of the time.

Allow space in the culture for people who want a separate social and professional life. Opting out of a social event should not automatically cause "Why aren't you doing...?" questions from everyone.

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

Other Reviews for Machine Zone

  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Initially really rough around the edges, the company has turned a corner.

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

    I worked at Machine Zone full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Competitive pay. Amazing benefits. Overstocked kitchen, free lunch every day. Fringe benefits- massage, game night, big company parties, weekly prize wheel with serious prizes. Fairly flexible work hours, within reason. Two weeks off for Christmas two years in a row. Palo Alto location means perfect weather and vibrant startup scene. Hire top level talent. Very, very high level game performance in the app store. Management and CEO have a real handle on F2P market. Great HR staff, and tech guys.

    Cons

    Engineers and artists dislike being locked into roles. Not the best company for artists. CEO openly favors engineers and QA, and he is perceived as abrasive by the art staff. Most art decisions are filtered through people who have no art experience.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Most problems the company used to have (excessive crunch time, hostile work environment, etc) have been solved with the release of the current flagship title. My advice would be to recognize the power of a well organized and loyal art team, rather than treat them like disposable contractors only hired out of necessity. Begin to think of developing a game that connects with users instead of aims to coerce addiction.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    There Is Only One Speed And It's Go

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

    I have been working at Machine Zone full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Very well funded and understands free to play and how to obtain user's transactions. They compensate workers very well and are located in a very cool palo alto area. If you live in the San Jose area, the commute isn't bad at all.

    Cons

    Very depressing work environment. Crunch time hasn't ended in over a year and working normal hours is like wearing a scarlet letter on your back.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The people who work for you are not machines. We work to live. Respect them and they will work just as hard for you without any force or employment threats.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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