Playdom Reviews

Updated July 10, 2015
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3.4
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Playdom Co-President John Pleasants
John Pleasants
15 Ratings

Pros
  • Free Food, Great people, Fantastic IP, great location, very strong leadership (in 8 reviews)

  • Great People under the management (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Old boys club: Many low level management are protected by upper management making open-door policies a joke (in 3 reviews)

  • Remote studios have more difficulty working with the central departments at headquarters than the in-house studios (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

56 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Director of Virals

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

    I worked at Playdom

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    People, location, fun culture and games

    Cons

    Long hours, bad direction from mgmt


  2. Attitudes Galore!! (The bad kind)

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

    I worked at Playdom

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Free food, some nice managers, others not so much.

    Cons

    Horrible HR management! HR team is the worst, too dramatic! They think they own the place. No respect, they treat adults like children. Micro-managers, don't trust their own team members and behave like spoilt rotten rich kids.

    Advice to Management

    Hire grown ups who also act like responsible adults! HR is supposed to be a service organization, not someone who acts like they come from a superior planet! They are not revenue generators, but instead of supporting the business, they act like the police, the bad kind! Gosh don't know how this company is still surviving with such bad leadership.


  3. It was a good experience but leadership need to provide more directions to the company.

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

    I worked at Playdom

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great work life balance and coworkers.

    Cons

    Leaderships and managements need to have more directions to its employees


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  5. Great on the Surface

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

    I worked at Playdom full-time

    Pros

    Free meals, gym, snacks, friendly people, loose deadlines, life drawing classes, pizza and beer nights on Wednesdays, Disney perks, equity, the clicking of Nerf guns firing; on the surface it was startup heaven.

    Cons

    I think this is a pretty common problem with startups: when the money's coming in without a clear structure, things get sloppy, issues get ignored, managers' egos get out of hand etc.. This company was definitely that, which while I was paid well and really appreciated the perks, there was too little damage control over fear of rocking the boat. For example, someone with far less adequate experience than I and others on our team, got promoted and paid more than us (I heard from a coworker) on account of likely nepotism. A much more qualified team member who just had a baby got fired on account of this person, who I'd literally see sneering and talking behind people's backs, just for their appearance. It was kind of traumatic, and I'd never dealt with a situation this bad in my almost decade long career then, having worked for global agencies and networks. I had to bite the bullet and quit even before finding work elsewhere. I don't blame this person as much as management and HR, who I expressed this issue to and saw no follow through. Of course these were isolated incidents, but I also knew it was a bad sign when a newly hired industry veteran quit, after their first meeting with one of the founders. I definitely heard similar complaints about structure though, and it felt like "every man for himself". Overall it was not much unlike the Titanic, where people were too busy having a good time, to steer clear of the inevitable downfall.

    Advice to Management

    More solid structure and direction from the get-go would've given the company more solid legs to stand on. Do you love your product or are you doing this just for the money? Call me idealist but questions like this matter to me, and have a ripple effect throughout the company. Look at employees' backgrounds before dealing with conflicts. Listen to the ones who know what they're talking about from professional experience, over the ones you're more buddy buddy with.


  6. Helpful (1)

    A disaster everyone should have seen coming

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

    I worked at Playdom full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    1. Fun Office, Fun Coworkers. I LOVED most of the people I worked with actually building games. The artists and engineers in particular were the best coworkers I've ever had, and I made lasting friendships. 2. Responsibility. If you arrived at the right time and were on the right team you had the chance to get some real meaningful responsibility and take ownership of significant products.

    Cons

    1. Negative Social Value of the Product. There are two types of people at Playdom. Those who are uncomfortable with the revenue model (e.g., overcharging bored middle-aged housewives for value-less virtual goods) and those who love it, aka, the sociopaths. I learned an important lesson about myself at Playdom - loathing the product that I work on does awful things to my job satisfaction and sense of self-worth. 2. Lack of Mentorship. Playdom hired a shitload of PMs who had no idea how to make games. The idea was, "This is a consumer web product, we want people who would excel at Silicon Valley-style startups." You should already see the problem. Making games is fundamentally different from making other web products. The result was that there was really no one around on the ground level who could mentor PMs on how to run game teams or hold a good vision for a game product. This IMO was the fundamental reason why so many of our products failed shortly after launch. We were just guessing about design direction. 3. Technology. I'm not super technical, so this is mostly second hand from the engineers I respected. We made terrible decisions with regards to tech. Considering the vast amount of shared tech required across games, it was astounding how frequently we had to reinvent the wheel. This is in stark contrast to Zynga, known for having 'Gameville' - a game project which contained all the code to get a FB game up and running with standard Zynga features. Sharing and organization was just atrocious. 4. Tech Decisions. One thing I could see for myself was how ridiculous it was for Creative Directors to make tech decisions. CDs would hear something about a tech and decide that entitled them to decide what tech stacks should be used. Invariably, when a tech was forced on a team from management, the results were disastrous. 5. Psychopathic Managers. The level of office politics really transcended the normal, everyday shadiness inevitably present in competitive office settings. There were managers at Playdom so used to lying that if you basically assumed the opposite whenever they told you anything and you'd be right 9/10 times. People who would tell you to your face that your project is doing great and everything is on track, and then cause problems for you to upper management. People who encouraged YOU to lie to YOUR teams because it was the only way to keep morale up. Just a sickening environment.

    Advice to Management

    BURN IT WITH FIRE! They did it. Just took a while.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Nice place to work, lacking in clear direction

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

    I have been working at Playdom full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    -Nice office w/ lots of amenities. Gym, lunches and dinners provided, very large kitchen that is fully stocked, games, etc. -Mostly a nice and talented group of people. Management is nice, if a little clueless -Doesn't require a lot of long hours. -Disney perks are great, especially if you plan on visiting the parks at all

    Cons

    -Company hasn't been able to duplicate the success of it's earlier hits which has led to large layoffs and scrambling for a new direction. The game I was working was earning money and was on track to being their biggest success in sometime but they sold it and cut the team because they wanted to focus on more hardcore titles (something they've not done well at so far). -The start-up culture that existed previous to the buyout has been slowly supplanted by Disney corporate culture. -Health plans aren't great compared to most gaming companies in the Silicon Valley -Rigid studio system makes it hard to transition to a new team if you're unhappy with the work you are doing/game you are working on -Unstable work environment/not a lot of job security. Company is very much in a transitional state which may result in being completely shut down by Disney if they're able to turn it around quickly.

    Advice to Management

    -Figure out how to make games that people want to play, don't just rely on Disney's IP to make up for stale games. -Don't sell games that are making money just because they don't fit the "vision" you made up while in the shower based on allegorical evidence of what's hot now -Adopt a Valve-style of team building, allowing people to work on the projects that they are most passionate about


  8. Just OK

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

    I have been working at Playdom full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Part of Disney Free Food

    Cons

    Nobody really knows what they are doing. they just act like they do


  9. Great for starting out, but mismanaged and no opportunity for growth...too much "old boys club"

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

    I have been working at Playdom full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great People under the management. Most managers do not look to use their employees strengths and instead put them in a position where their weakness show more.

    Cons

    Old boys club: Many low level management are protected by upper management making open-door policies a joke. Looking to the future: Not enough foresight as to what viable platforms are for new titles. Making bad decisions and not correcting course until its too late. Very stressful release schedule. Low pay when compare to other employers offering like positions. Management loves to pass blame down the ladder and act like they are doing it all right.

    Advice to Management

    Make your employees feel appreciated and they will do more for you. Make decisions that are good for the studios instead of just the bottom-line. Pay more attention to trends and don't be the last one to adapt to the changing market.


  10. Great times were had at this company...

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

    I worked at Playdom full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Great people to work with, very friendly, open culture - Good benefits and nice perks (catered lunch, dinner, etc. --dude-- disneyland pass) - Constant variety of work opportunity to grow

    Cons

    - Opportunity for growth really depends on your manager - Seeing the many abandoned or soon to be dropped projects

    Advice to Management

    Business decisions were not the best... oversaturating the company portfolio with hidden object games and overexpanding the company and putting all your eggs in one basket is probably one of the reasons why you ended up laying off everyone


  11. Software Developer

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

    I have been working at Playdom full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great work environment and good teams. Benefits are good. Flexible schedule. Everyone is very friendly and easy to work with.

    Cons

    Communication between teams is lacking. Salarys are fairly low compared to the normal.



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