Kabam Reviews

Updated September 12, 2014
Updated September 12, 2014
69 Reviews
3.6
69 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Kabam CEO Kevin Chou
Kevin Chou
47 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Benefits, free lunch, location, beer on tap (in 12 reviews)

  • Kabam has a great work/life balance across most departments that I've worked with: engineering, marketing, art, product, etc (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • No career advancement path (they just keep talking about it) (in 3 reviews)

  • This is a universally shared view across the company (in 2 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    EH

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

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

    Pros

    Better than most other game companies
    Good Health Care
    Free Snacks

    Cons

    Low Pay
    Ineffectual management
    Consistently disappointed and discouraged by management
    Lack of planning and foresight

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to delegate and properly manage people.

    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great experience in Kabam

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Kabam

    Pros

    really smart and sharp team. Great execution capability

    Cons

    Needs to beef up the fun part. Great monetization strategy, lacking in producing inspiring game

  3. 5 people found this helpful  

    Decent place to start in the gaming industry, but poor long-term outlook

    • 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 Kabam full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good training ground for the gaming industry, decent benefits, fun company culture, smart people to work with

    Cons

    Kabam has basically made one game since the company was founded and has re-skinned that title dozens of times until now. The company does not seem like it is able to keep up and actually release a hit next-generation mobile game now that its traditional strategy titles are losing steam in the competitive mobile marketplace. The last handful of mobile games that Kabam released have all been duds, and the only opportunity for employees at the company at this point seems to be in the Beijing office. The SF office now serves as a hub for old web game maintenance and a wasteland of poor mobile title execution, and morale suffers as a result.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Too many people are laid off out of the blue for positions that the company already has open requests on LinkedIn for. You cannot create a culture that emphasizes company loyalty when people you know are getting laid off left and right. Company trips are fun, but the bonus pay structure is consistently disappointing for the staff and ends up being a measly sum considering the company's rapid growth.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    A poorly managed company with zero interedt in games or their customer.

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

    I worked at Kabam full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Catered lunch daily
    Unlimited PTO
    Decent benefits for singles
    Strong Analytical potential
    Nice company sponsored events
    They've hired some amazing people

    Cons

    President is a meglomanic, cry baby, egotistical, money pit who is surrounded by Yes men and sexually subserviant women.
    Cronyism and infidelity are common among upper management.
    Company has copied and pasted the same game design for so long they have no idea how to move forward and have no design skills
    No creativity in any of the internal SF studios. Quite possibly the worst game design anywhere save Arkadium.
    Satelite studios are treated like disposable contractors not team mates.
    Sudden company re-orgs and shifts in focus make for riches to rags development practices.
    Lack of solid analytic application, do to lack of game design knowledge leads to glorified slot machines and inferior clones of successful games.
    Bonus programs are always changed and minimize the contributions of their most valuable players.
    Managers are hired fire the sole purpose of closing out projects.
    They layoff more great people than they can keep due to poor management.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The President should ask himself. "Are we aligned?" when he's out of a job.

    In general, listen more to your traditionally trained game designers and engineers. These are your greatest tools. Put pride in your game development and not just the profits.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 7 people found this helpful  

    You're just a number

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

    I worked at Kabam full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Most of the people were nice and the amenities were great.

    Cons

    Company Moto: If you're not willing to step on others, you're not going to progress. Politics, politics, politics. The more you can lie and throw people under the bus, the more stable your position is. Executives are absolutely clueless about what's going on beneath them. Moral is a 5 letter word that we didn't speak of.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Seriously consider a pruning of your management team and for God sakes....OPEN YOUR EYES.

    Doesn't Recommend
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fair enough

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

    I worked at Kabam full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Is a fast paced work environment. It is not for everyone, If you do not understand the start up mentality of getting there as fast as you can, so you are ahead of the vault then this is definitely not for you. It is a great company to work for. I think they expect you to do your homework and understand the company's goals and where would you feet in all that. After all it is personal responsibility to get informed. I am very happy here, the management certainly understands all this and I see no reason why I shouldn't. I Speak for myself when I say you need to be competitive, and if you are not then you need to work for a government agency dude. I love all the perks (free lunch, cappuccino bar, bear on top, awesome snacks, ping pong tables, garage band, x-box, couches to lay in etc.), It's a fun place if you can adapt to that. I work hard, but I also play hard!

    Cons

    Bit of pressure,. Politically wise as long as you are there to deliver a job and not a speech your are fine. Every company I worked for has politics, you just pick what kind suits you or learn to ignore it. Unfortunately is the nature of the teams that makes things look unfair from the outside, but we have excellent motivators and team leaders at least mine is. I don't know how much of that is luck or common sense.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They need to keep on thriving and inspire. Focus on the communication gaps between people that love to make games and people that love to make money.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 14 people found this helpful  

    What happened to this place?

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

    I have been working at Kabam full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Kabam has a great work/life balance across most departments that I've worked with: engineering, marketing, art, product, etc. The rank & file employees are friendly, laid back and people are always willing to help. The pay used to be pretty far under market but the company has been fairly aggressive in the last 6-12 months to try to correct for this. Compared to other top gaming companies, the pay vs lifestyle is very favorable. Lastly, the perks are really nice: lunches and dinners provided (if you stay late enough), and lots of snacks/drinks readily available.

    Cons

    It's sad to say, but the biggest con to working at Kabam is 100% the executive leadership. When I refer to the leadership, I am really referring to the President, who is in charge of the day-to-day. The CEO is a nice guy but he has gotten less and less involved over the years - to the point where most of his time is now external facing, preparing for a potential IPO, talking to investors / board members, etc.

    The president of the company has been a one man wrecking crew for the past several months. I've lost count of how many well-respected Vice Presidents, Directors and other high ranking employees have either left or been laid off due to the toxic politicking going on here. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that just about every single one of these employees would point out the same exact things about this "company leader". The problems are that A) he's extremely short sighted, B) it's either his way or the high way, C) he lavishly wastes company resources on his personal travel & entertainment budget and D) he is a terrible people manager.

    Extremely short sighted. The company leadership, led by the President, have constantly squeezed the life out of new pipeline projects by ensuring all new games conform to the standards of either the current top grossing game(s) in the market or to the whims of his supposed product leadership experience (of which he has none). Teams of artists, engineers and PMs will work for several months concocting a new title and in the 11th hour the President will show up with a bunch of BS theories about how these games should be designed because only he knows best. All the previous work gets thrown out and what you end up with is a patchwork quilt of crappy game mechanics and monetization practices. Management also piles unrealistic revenue goals on top of all the game teams to the point where the "customer focus" is now, "how do we rip off our top players?". I can't remember how many times management has directed teams to use aggressive promotions and gimmicky sales (cutting to the bone) just to make quarterly revenue goals (hey our business has been damaged, but we're going to Vegas for meeting goal!). Then they panic when the beginning of the next quarter/half underperforms, and the whole cycle repeats itself. Customer complaints are not taken seriously unless that person has spent thousands of dollars with the company.

    His way or the high way. Self-explanatory, but let's just say I've witnessed several evolutions of: 1) some employee rises through the ranks, 2) employee gains the President's favor and becomes one of "his guys", 3) employee is given more responsibility to lead a department or project, 4) department or project either underperforms, or is not led in the style that the President likes 5) employee is passive-aggressively moved further away from priority projects, 6) employee either quits or gets laid off as they're no longer working on core products. The executive in question never has the guts to look somebody in the eye and communicate honestly. Instead, rumors start swirling about how someone has fallen out of favor, and by that point all is lost.

    Lavishly wastes company resources. Again, self-explanatory. It's a poorly kept secret around the office that the CFO has had to confront the President on many occasions for his 6 figure + expense account. This guy then has the audacity to post pictures of his international bottle service excursions, 1st class flying experiences and 5 star hotel stays on his facebook account while trying to lecture the rest of the company about how we need to conserve budget and control expenses.

    Terrible people manager. It's already been mentioned that a whole slew of well respected employees have left the company as a direct result of their interactions with this person. It's also been mentioned that he has "his guys" who pretty much get all the perks you'd imagine (off-cycle pay & title raises, choice of best projects, impromptu bonuses etc) while others who are just as good but not as well known (by him) are continually passed over for all of these benefits. His communication style is the worst - most leaders have an open door policy, this guy says only to email him. Ok, maybe understandable, but why does he have to be so smug & passive aggressive in his emails? This is a universally shared view across the company. But in his own words, "that's just how he rolls".

    I think everything mentioned above captures the essence of what is wrong with the company. Why hasn't anything been done about it? For better or worse, Kabam, until recently, has historically grown at a decent clip. The board & CEO automatically attribute all of this success to the President. Did it ever occur to these decision-makers that the hundreds of employees working under the 1-2 main executives might have something to do with your success? At one point, I believe the President might have been the right guy for his position (2-3 years ago) but it's clear to anybody working here now that he has 1,000% lost the faith of the employee base.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice to the CEO: either get involved with the company again or find a new leader who can repair the culture. Don't just show up to random town hall meetings, talk through the bullet points of Kabam's mission statement and then go unseen until the next meeting. If you want to be a multi-billion dollar company, then make the tough decisions and fix the culture one executive at a time. This used to be a great place that I'd be proud to talk about but now the best I can feign is indifference when people ask about the company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 7 people found this helpful  

    This 'gaming' company is a joke.

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

    I worked at Kabam full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Catered lunches and a huge wall of free snacks and drinks make this a fat guy's dream.
    The company has great benefits, decent 401k matching, pays some bonuses, and generally seems to care about its employee perks.
    Some C-level guys are fantastic (such as Amit).
    Managers often do listen to what you have to say.

    Cons

    While a few of the C-level guys are great, most of the others are out of touch and play political games.
    The CEO is out of touch with what is going on right under his nose.
    They call themselves a gaming company, but the truth is nobody at the company can do more than copy someone else's game. Kabam relies on marketing and user acquisition to get its low quality games to climb the iOS and Android charts. None of the company's recent games have any semblance of actual good game design; just look at their poor retention metrics to see for yourself.
    If you want to be creative and make good games, stay away from Kabam.
    But if you want to play politics, be constantly at risk of losing your job every 8 months when the company re-orgs (again), and want to make clones of other games, THEN KABAM IS FOR YOU!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You seem to relish re-orging out the line employees, maybe that's why there's no employee loyalty. Perhaps you should re-org your own ranks to get rid of the filth that resides there!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    If you are a builder of new things this is the place for you.

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

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

    Pros

    Culture genuinely supports new ideas and trying new concepts as long as you can show why something needs to happen and track the success. Great benefits, stock, catered lunch, location, and easy commute from the east bay.

    Cons

    For a company of 800 people in 6 different countries it is amazing that a lot of corporate services are not as organized or scaled as you would think. Probably due to transition from start-up to more stable, longer-term goals, but still can be frustrating when trying to organize a cross business project.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Direction of company goals is clear when it comes to revenue growth, but it would be great to see more commitment to growth of quality and technology. If you look at our portfolio of games it does show growth on this level, but its not talked about as much as money. You would get a lot further motivating employees by focusing on our commitments to level up product quality instead of always pointing to monetization efforts.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 6 people found this helpful  

    Not in a million years did I ever think it would be this bad

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

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

    Pros

    Benefits, free lunch, location, beer on tap

    Cons

    1. Management: They are only concerned about what is best for them. They constantly say they care about employees, but screw them when given the opportunity. You are told you can speak your mind, then when you do, you find yourself in the next round of layoffs or restructuring which happens every 6 months. 2. Politics: If you are not part of the in crowd, then you are lied to and treated poorly. 3. Leadership: Two members of the executive team are related which is a conflict of interest. 4. Corruption: Given the politics of the leadership team, there are cover ups to rank and file employees. Important topics are swept under the rug and you are told to not double cross leadership for fear of being let go. 5. IPO track-while the company is doing well, the company protects the poorest performers because they are friends with leadership. 6. HR: The team has restructured so many time employees see it as a running joke. Employees are afraid to approach HR as there is no trust. Last year several employees just dissappeared during a round of layoffs. Employees were told nothing. Just poof and gone--just like everyone else.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not sure what to say here. I couldn't in good conscious say anyone should succumb themselves to such deceit, lies, bribery and cover ups. As soon as I find another job, I am out of here. Just not worth the constant fear of being next in the next restructure. God help this company and those who would ever buy them in an IPO. They will lose all of their money.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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