NaturalMotion

  www.naturalmotion.com
  www.naturalmotion.com
There are newer employer reviews for NaturalMotion

5 people found this helpful  

Figuring out their role in the mobile market

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

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

Pros

*great people; the hiring process is VERY tough- very high standards in the talent they bring on
*use of proprietary technology to use in mobile games
*innovation is encouraged

Cons

*disorganized
*no sense of company culture in the SF studio
*seem to have a lack of directive in the company's overall mission when it comes to their mobile games in preproduction
*breakdown in communication between Oxford headquarters and SF studio
*very small (game) studio here stateside; projects are not given the manpower or resources they need, and the hiring process/ HR is very understaffed as they are split between UK and US needs.
*minimal benefits (studio is so small, health and dental/vision options are very limited)

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Wish upper management had given the SF studio the resources and manpower it deserved and needed to properly make the games we had been assigned to make. Wish they had 1. had better organization and a solid plan moving forward with their games, and 2. had truly given the SF studio a fighting chance to succeed.

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO

10 Other Employee Reviews for NaturalMotion (View Most Recent)

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  1.  

    Great company, great people, great technology

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Programmer in Oxford, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Programmer in Oxford, England (UK)

    I have been working at NaturalMotion full-time

    Pros

    On the technology (Morpheme & Euphoria) side of the company, the team has got a lot of very talented people, but no big egos, which is great. People are focussed on steadily making the product better, working together and helping each other out. The working environment is far more sensible in the technology side of NaturalMotion than in the games industry as a whole, yet it remains ambitious. The management (on the tech side) feels like it's there to help get work done (on the whole!).

    Cons

    The main Oxford office is split into two - technology and games. The two sides feel very different and rather disconnected. The focus is normally on the games side, which can be a little disheartening at times. Then we get back to the tech and all is good.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    As the company has grown and shifted focus, it has gained many more managers (in proportion to people who actually make stuff), layers of management, HR people etc. As a result it has cultivated a corporate sense (especially since the Zynga takeover), and much more of a feeling that people are working for their "masters" rather than each other. It would be good to get some of that back.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 5 people found this helpful  

    Lack of company culture will hurt

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Lead Developer in Oxford, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Lead Developer in Oxford, England (UK)

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

    Pros

    Central location of the office, good work mates, games across a variety of genres.

    Cons

    One of the big issues at NaturalMotion (and it seems they are completely blind to this) is that _all_ of the projects there go on forever. There's a project there that the CEO described as "bread and butter" project in terms of how simple it is and that project has now gone on for about 3 years and just got restarted again (so back to preproduction). The original people left on this 30 something team is about 15%.

    This issue stems from the fact that the management is really, really keen on getting involved in all aspects of the development and in the end, you basically become a cog in the wheel who just does what management says. Since the feedback loop is so long, they spend a massive amount of time and effort into putting these things into motion, then realize it doesn't work and then there's a lot of back and forth meetings and whatnot. This ultimately results in couple of things:
    1) The team who actually works on the projects comes out of them drained, demotivated and feeling they haven't really learned anything - thus, they leave the company
    2) The game probably will be a success, but at the cost of basically losing a lot of people and "restarting" a portion of your company

    This whole shuffle has massive repercussions for the whole company - the retention is sky high, there is no HR policy and the retention in the HR team is massive as well. There is no management training even though it has been asked for for two years. There is no transparency, they don't do company surveys and present what's good and what's bad or any action points related to that.

    After the Zynga buyout, a lot of the projects have been Zynga-ified even though promises were made that this wouldn't happen. Zynga's people are a constant presence and even though some of them are nice people, there's some interesting character traits amongst them - one of the producers came over to help on a project, was booked into a nice Oxford hotel about 10 minutes from the centre, but refused to live there since she had to take the bus every morning...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you don't give the power to the teams, to allow them to fail and succeed on their own terms and fully own the project, you will never go anywhere as a company and the company culture consists of mostly negative things.

    Your management model is completely outdated in the current world - instead of embracing your weaknesses, bringing them to the light and talking about them, you shy away, afraid that people will leave the company if you honestly tell them what is going wrong. The reason people leave your company is that they have no ownership, they don't have a chance of learning anything and that the management doesn't trust anyone.

    This is all massively sad, since NaturalMotion could have been something.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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