Harmonix Music Systems
4.2 of 5 14 reviews
www.harmonixmusic.com Cambridge, MA 150 to 499 Employees

Harmonix Music Systems Reviews

Updated Apr 8, 2014

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4.2 14 reviews

                             

100% Approve of the CEO

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Alex Rigopulos

(3 ratings)

92% of employees recommend this company to a friend
14 Employee Reviews
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A fun place to work, going through some bumpy times

Software Developer (Current Employee)
Cambridge, MA

I have been working at Harmonix Music Systems full-time for more than 3 years

ProsExcellent co-workers and interesting problems make Harmonix a fun place to work. They take very good care of their employees, with amazing benefits, good salaries, and (fairly) open communication. The atmosphere is laid back, which helps make up for the increasingly frequent overtime.

ConsA couple of years ago I would have had a hard time finding any, however it seems like as the cash cow Rock Band and Dance Central franchises wind down the company is flailing and directionless, trying to do too much with too little in an effort to find the next hit. Raises have been minimal and bonuses non-existent as well. Experiences in the company seem to depend a lot on your department... engineering seems to do well, while QA is often treated as disposable.

The biggest con in engineering is the flat structure. Everyone is a "Software Developer" so there is literally no where to grow. You might get to be lead on a project, but it doesn't change your title or compensation. There is no management track as the people in those (two) positions have been there for 5-10 years.

Advice to Senior ManagementGo back to doing a few things well. Let people work on projects they can be proud of instead of crunching out rushed work to make up for being under-staffed. Figure out a way to make engineering not feel like a dead end job.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Worked as a QA lead for several years.

QA Lead (Former Employee)
Cambridge, MA

I worked at Harmonix Music Systems full-time for more than 3 years

ProsWorking with a group of the most passionate, creative and driven people that I've met. The company pushes hard to continue innovating. There's an emphasis on maintaining a work hard/play hard culture, which goes for parties as well as projects.

ConsThe compensation and promotion structure was broken during my tenure. Upper mobility was attained through a combination of hard work and knowing the right people, not necessarily in that order.

Advice to Senior ManagementContinue to promote the creative culture at Harmonix. Spend more time in the trenches during projects. Make sure that employees aren't using "because that's how we've always done it" as a rationale. Adopting agile led to a huge increase in inter-discipline communication. Even if you decide to ditch agile, cultivate the communication.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Great lifestyle, limited job growth

Quality Assurance Tester (Former Employee)
Cambridge, MA

I worked at Harmonix Music Systems full-time for less than a year

ProsGreat work-life balance, some of the most passionate people I have ever met, great product, half the people are overqualified for their job but love the industry or love music, welcoming work culture, transparency from management, good benefits.

ConsLittle if any job training or personal development opportunities, half the people are grossly under-qualified for and incompetent at their job and are their because they know someone, cyclical job hiring and firing, very low pay.

Advice to Senior ManagementIt's a great place to work but it feels like people only advance in the company if they are chummy chummy with the right folks.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Best-of-class products; fun, diverse culture; ethical, supportive management

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
Cambridge, MA

I worked at Harmonix Music Systems full-time for more than 3 years

Pros* The studio has a strong commitment to making best-of-class games. Lots of interesting creative challenges for game developers.
* Senior management is extremely approachable and highly involved in the product development in a way that is helpful, not disruptive.
* Quirky, atypical game development culture--down-to-earth, inclusive, and diverse (especially compared to other game development studios).
* Little to no crunch when compared with other studios.

Cons* Not a knock on Harmonix, but Boston/Cambridge is not as attractive a hub for AAA game development as it perhaps once was...but then again, AAA is not what it used to be. That said, the indie/startup scene is growing.

Advice to Senior ManagementCreate more opportunities for innovative product ideas to grow from the bottom-up. You've already made some good steps in this direction.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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The best

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
Cambridge, MA

I worked at Harmonix Music Systems full-time for more than a year

Pros- Excellent co-workers, really just the best people
- Fun casual work environment
- Great health insurance
- Perks include, weekly catered lunch / company get together, yearly company bowling trip, yearly fancy holiday party, fully stocked kitchen, fridges with every type of water, juice or soda you could ever want.

ConsThe only con I would say is the companies desire to stick with beat matching game play, using sometimes expensive licensed music in a market that is tired of these types of games.

I will say this is not generally a problem for the employees however, as that uncompromising love of all things music is why many of us love the company in the first place. But this leads to more uncertainty about the success of projects that people are pouring their hearts and souls into.

Advice to Senior ManagementDiversify into areas other than beat match and copy cat dance games. There is more that can be done with music themes than these two genres of games.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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One of the most awesome places to work in Boston

Senior Systems Administrator (Former Employee)
Cambridge, MA

I worked at Harmonix Music Systems full-time for less than a year

ProsGreat people, and amazing benefits. Place has a creative vibe unlike anywhere else. Happy people making great things. It's a high-pressure place, but very rewarding.

ConsOutdated IT, old crashy computers, small monitors. Disjoint office situation and layout. Stop-and-go nature of projects makes for unpredictable work and crunch times.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Fantastic company, but with the typical Game Industry drawbacks

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
Cambridge, MA

I worked at Harmonix Music Systems full-time for more than 3 years

ProsAmazing, supportive, family-like atmosphere
Outstanding health and other benefits - never had to pay a doctor a dime
Executives who genuinely care about their employees

ConsLong work hours - I always felt guilty leaving after "only" 9 hours
Near annual layoffs - maybe this will change since the company went private
Relatively low salary compared to similar companies

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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awesome

Animation Intern (Current Employee)
Cambridge, MA

I have been working at Harmonix Music Systems as an intern for less than a year

Prosgreat atmosphere, lots of perks, treated with respect

Conspigeon holed in industry as "music games"

Advice to Senior Managementkeep it up

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Intelligent and passionate employees, great co-founders, broken reward structure

Producer (Former Employee)
Cambridge, MA

I worked at Harmonix Music Systems full-time for more than 5 years

ProsIntelligent co-workers, passionate employees, good benefits

ConsLots of politics, management rewards hours worked rather than work completed, management's "favorites" are fast-tracked

Advice to Senior ManagementReward merit rather than hours worked and consider your actions affect on employee morale.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Corporate autocracy for prolonged adolesents

Information Technologist (Current Employee)
Cambridge, MA

I have been working at Harmonix Music Systems full-time for more than a year

ProsAlternative minded employees make the working atmosphere here quite laid back and fun. Their upbeat culture is infectious, and will make the days here pass quickly.A great balance between work and play.

ConsThe non-traditional atmosphere makes it easy to get carried away, and work objectives may not clearly defined. Be sure to keep lines of communication between management and yourself open so that you may work towards your career goals.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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