Machine Zone
4.1 of 5 11 reviews
www.machinezone.com Palo Alto, CA 50 to 149 Employees

Machine Zone Reviews

Updated Feb 6, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

4.1 11 reviews

                             

50% Approve of the CEO

Machine Zone CEO Gabriel Leydon

Gabriel Leydon

(4 ratings)

82% of employees recommend this company to a friend
11 Employee Reviews
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3 people found this helpful  

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

Backend Engineer (Former Employee)
Palo Alto, CA

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

ProsThe 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.

ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementStart 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.

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

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

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

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

ProsCompetitive 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.

ConsEngineers 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 Senior ManagementMost 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.

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

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There Is Only One Speed And It's Go

Software Engineer (Current Employee)
Palo Alto, CA

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

ProsVery 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.

ConsVery 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 Senior ManagementThe 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.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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The company has potential

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
Palo Alto, CA

I worked at Machine Zone

ProsFriendly atmosphere and some awesome people work there . The company is located in Palo Alto and for some people the commute is a deal breaker, but overall i'd say it is worth the trip.

ConsEven though the company is engineer oriented they should definitely get an art director . Otherwise lack of clear artistic vision will drive them to being neglected on the market even with the best engineering tricks.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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This Company Cares!

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Palo Alto, CA

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

ProsMachine Zone is by far the best place I've worked for, in my career! I have been in the gaming industry for 8 years and have seen a lot of mismanagement, poor decisions and even lies. Machine Zone has always put their best foot forward in taking care of their employees. I've seen career growth for myself and others and the work is meaningful. From what I've experienced they care about their employees as much as the games they develop. Executive Team/Management is visible, approachable and hard working. Very collaborative environment.

ConsSmaller company, which is not for everyone.

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

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Dream Job

IT & Facilities Manager (Current Employee)
Palo Alto, CA

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

ProsSurrounded by talented individuals who are rock stars of their field. It really is the cream of the crop around here.

ConsIts definitely a fast paced environment, and not for the weak willed. The only con would be if you are not a dedicated individual who like to work hard and reap the benefits of that work.

Advice to Senior ManagementKeep up the amazing work.

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

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7 people found this helpful  

Great vision, no idea how to get there

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
Palo Alto, CA

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

ProsThey know how to make money, good location in Palo Alto, offices are new and they are open to suggestions in building products and doing business. Despite their faults, the people as individuals are very intelligent. Financially, Machine Zone is making attempts to do the right things to avoid going down the failed game start up path that so many fall into.

ConsWorking at Machine Zone is what I imagine a sweat shop to be like. If you have any thoughts on an outside life I would abandon it before accepting a position there. Working hours are from 11am to 10pm and some weekends. Career development is non-existent as everyone is pegged into roles for the "now" rather than the future. The CTO is very intelligent but has a hard time making decisions as he's also in the dark with company direction. He plans his organizational goals around building games that are dead in the mind of the CEO. Needless to say, conflicts between founders affects the entire organization.

Advice to Senior ManagementIf you want to be a great game company then create original IP. Producing re-skins of other company's games and adding chat to it doesn't make a player more immersed if the game play and graphics are horrible. CEO lacks professionalism and his predictable rants are merely an uninspiring blame game. For all the intelligence and potential with the company, it's leadership is far from being unified and causes the company to react towards problems rather than work together to understand and solve them.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Challenging and rewarding, Machine Zone is a great place to build a career

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Palo Alto, CA

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

ProsThe flat organization makes it very easy for employees to make an impact every day. I love coming to work at a place that is pushing the envelope on game design and WILL be the gold standard of not just mobile gaming, but the game industry in general.

ConsBeing innovative takes hard work and some sacrifice. Working here is not for the timid or those not interested in putting in the time to win.

Advice to Senior ManagementTry to work on getting the hours to those of a normal company.

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

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2 people found this helpful  

Very challenging, exciting, collaborative, and passionate.

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Sunnyvale, CA

I have been working at Machine Zone

ProsInnovative work environment that continually pushes the envelope to anticipate and deliver what the customer wants and needs. Its very exciting times here with executive management having a very strategic long term goal within this rapidly growing industry.

ConsThis company is not for everyone. Dedicated and passionate people who love video games and working are best suited to thrive in this environment.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Ambitious vision, amazing people, and driven culture - only the best will come!

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

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

ProsStarting off first with the CEO's vision - his history in gaming from coin-op to becoming the first to build a free2play mmo on the ios - he has repeatedly been RIGHT and calling the future. The company was bootstrapped so the cofounders had to turn a profit quickly, so the monetization expertise is very important since no money, no company! The company has a great grasp of free2play but also how to make money, and it is now going to predict and build the future. If you want to work on some fluffy "high-quality" casual game with a bunch of half-motivated people just to ship a title in 3 months, there are plenty of other gamin companies big and small to join.

Second of all - this company has amazing people all around, from the technical gurus to talented artists to expert game designers and even support teams like marketing and the admin functions. Everyone cares deeply about the company, the direction we are going, and the games we are building. What I have noticed is that only the best can work here; if you are not good at your trade, don't think you can BS your way into the company because you will naturally be exposed by your brilliant colleagues. This has happened repeatedly - people who have nice looking resumes don't always end up doing well. Those with real skills, who are genuine and have integrity will succeed. This can be the rocket ship for your career if you put 100% into the job. I feel lucky to have been accepted - this is like a prestigious university where only the good ones can "pass" and be admitted. And the real test starts day one when you join, but it's fun in a challenging and adrenaline-rush way.

Last point - company culture is very unique and special: everyone is driven to make this vision a reality. Most companies just have a list of unrealistic and meaningless bullet points about company values, but here the culture seems to be focused on being the best. Everything we do here is about being THE BEST, and we do not take no for an answer. Not many people or even companies can say that they can embody that kind of attitude everyday - but we do.

Overall I really enjoy working at Machine Zone. The company is growing really fast and every week we have new colleagues to meet, but everyone is brilliant in their own way so it's been great testing my wits each and every day. This is not a place where people come to coast; this is where the smartest and brightest people from all over the world come together to work diligently on solving the most interesting technical challenges in gaming today. We have a lot of fun too - game nights, monthly parties, food and drinks, and department outings each week. This is an ambitious company that knows how to build a successful business, work hard but play harder, and can really boost your career if you can qualify to be part of the team.

ConsIt's not really the hours (the hours tend to be flexible) but it is an intensely focused and driven and real-time environment. We do need to remind ourselves to put things in perspective and not try to be so perfect, since it is easy to get lost in the weeds and become overly critical of our own progress,

Advice to Senior ManagementSo much happens in compressed time at Machine Zone that it feels like drinking from the fire hose all the time. Would be great to have more interaction and hear the CEO, CTO and the rest of the leaders share much more and more often. The space is so interesting and what we do is so groundbreaking that the more we understand, the better job we can do!

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

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Machine Zone – Why Work for Us?

Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Machine Zone, Inc. (formerly known as Addmired, Inc.) is focused on creating the most engaging free-to-play mobile social games in the world. Launched in 2008 with Y Combinator, Machine Zone… Full Overview

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Machine Zone reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Machine Zone CEO Gabriel Leydon. All 11 reviews posted anonymously by Machine Zone employees.