Playfirst Reviews

Updated March 4, 2015
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3.3
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Marco DeMiroz
11 Ratings

23 Employee Reviews

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  1. Nice people, but a revolving door

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

    I worked at Playfirst full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    Great people, friendly atmosphere. Lots of talent and capable employees.

    Cons

    Management was insecure, indecisive. Meetings take the place of actual decision making - what's said in one meeting is quickly nulled in the next. Lots of work wasted due to poor communication; producers, engineers, and artists are hamstrung by constant pivots. Attention is paid more to market fluctuation than faith in the product, and the games suffer because of this. Original ideas are lost to insecurity. Empty promises followed by layoffs.

    A tendency to give people high ranking titles without the roles to actually utilize those ranks. Almost everyone under executive level is a lead or director, without the authority behind the title. It's almost as if the titles are there to make people feel good, but it ultimately leads to a lack of a focused pipeline. There is no real hierarchy or chain of command.

    Advice to Management

    Have faith in what you make, and the people that make it. And good lord, make new things! Get out from under the shadow of Dash.


  2. Top industry employees, challenging work, close-knit bunch of great people

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    *Everyone is extremely good at their jobs and willing to go above and beyond at all times.
    *Managers are honest and helpful, not cutthroat or robotic.
    *The teamwork is supportive and fun, everyone is in it together rather than competitive.
    *PF takes care of employees in any way they can, definitely prioritized over anything else.
    *Company learns as they go, experts in some things, growing in other areas. Lots of room for personal impact on company's success.
    *Your career will be on a fast track here, high chance of many promotions.

    Cons

    *Hard work, will lose sleep during crunch time, typical for industry.
    *Roles and duties change, sometimes no choice.
    *Things are always unknown when acquired by another company, especially Glu Mobile.
    *Occasionally there are unreasonable expectations for workload, though it is often worked out as everyone learns what works.

    Advice to Management

    *Check in with employees more often about personal stress levels to make sure people aren't being overworked, and perhaps things can be distributed more equally on and off.
    *Could use more employees at all times.
    *Unfair that Art Team can work from home more often than other employees, though everyone understands that is up to managers of teams. Would be nice if departments felt like they had more equal treatment across the company.
    *Be more sympathetic during delivery of difficult news, and don't let Glu mobile ever deliver it.


  3. Great workers, terrible management

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

    I worked at Playfirst

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

    Pros

    The workers are the greatest asset at Playfirst, aside from their Diner Dash series. People are smart, kind, and friendly.

    Cons

    The people steering the ship don't know what they're doing. They don't have a background in video games (or in tech for that matter) and have repeatedly made bad business decisions that cost people their jobs.

    Advice to Management

    Stop hiding your decisions, strategy, and inadequacies from the people that you depend on--your employees. Stop treating them like children--always assuming that you know what's best and that they need to be protected from the harsh reality of business. If you are more open and transparent they will surprise you with their trust, dedication, and insight.


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  5. Outstanding workplace if your are lucky

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

    I worked at Playfirst full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I was one of the lucky ones who could get a chance to work with the best minds. I learned tremendously on new technology stacks such AWS, big data and so on.

    Marco truly cares about the success of the team.

    Free Breakfast every day
    Free Snacks/Drinks

    Overall, a great journey for me.

    Best technology stack.
    Melissa is a rockstar!!

    Cons

    Usual politics among the team(blame game between teams) that could have been easily avoided.
    Commute (I live in South bay)
    Attrition which is usual in gaming industry.

    Advice to Management

    Please put a tight wrap on unnecessary politics and keep up the good work.


  6. Helpful (2)

    Left scars.

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

    I worked at Playfirst full-time (Less than a year)

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

    Pros

    Snacks, co-workers, good benefits, nice location.

    Cons

    Lack of resources, bad management, lack of communication.

    Advice to Management

    Train your managers on how to BE managers. It was truly the worst management experience I've ever had. I've worked with many people and personalities and have been very successful. How is it that one place can hurt so many people after promising to be fair?


  7. Good People, Bad Management, Apps Disguised as Games

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

    I worked at Playfirst full-time

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

    Pros

    - A lot of smart, talented people reside here.
    - A few well-known IPs that have a lot of potential (though probably not so much in the freemium space).
    - Free snacks?

    Cons

    - Management has no software development expertise, which would be fine(ish), but for the fact that they try to mask this inexperience with loads of corporate jargon, countless meetings, and a general lack of transparent dealings. They've largely hired good people, but business decisions are primarily driven by fear, not data.
    - Process is routinely shirked due to inconsistent business needs, and the result is chaos. Management has a terminal case of "analysis paralysis."
    - Executives often randomize team members with minor requests or reassign staff at critical points in development without notice.
    - PlayFirst makes GINOS -- "games in name only." They have just enough game-i-ness stapled on to justify the category, but make no mistake; you are not making games, so much as making an uninspired spate of middleware-stuffed applications masquerading as games.
    - The company culture is your typical startup-that-grew-too-fast-didn't-plan-or-account-for-scale-now-oh-my-god-what-happened sort of venture. The key difference is that PlayFirst is not a startup, so it has little to no excuse for the bulk of its issues.
    - Morale is frequently low, and management is either unequipped or uninterested in addressing the issue. Employees who levy even constructive complaints have been known to be deemed a "poor culture fit" and summarily terminated without explanation.
    - Management's troubling inexperience and mismanagement of personnel matters has led to a disturbingly high rate of turnover; over just the last 12 months, more than 3 dozen employees have parted ways with the company -- nearly unthinkable for a company of no more than 40.

    Advice to Management

    - Hire good people. Get them the tools they need. Trust them. And let them work.
    - It's okay to admit when you don't know something.
    - Also, manager/doer is not a thing.

    Bottom line: Software development is not as hard as PlayFirst makes it look.


  8. Great company with lots of visibility and personal/professional growth opportunities.

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

    I have been working at Playfirst full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    High visibility.
    Collaborative environment.
    Casual environment with continual feedback and response.
    A high amount of transparency from the top down.
    Teams are very cohesive.
    The people here are SMART!!
    Catered breakfast everyday, and always a variety of fun company events.

    Cons

    Decisions can be made quickly, often causing a lot of head spin, but ultimately all decisions are made for the best.

    Advice to Management

    Sometimes move a little slower with transitions.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Great People, Misguided Management

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

    I worked at Playfirst full-time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Truly kind, talented, intelligent and fun co-workers.
    Free Breakfast every day
    Free Snacks/Drinks
    Good compensation/benefits
    Diner Dash makes money

    Cons

    Non-Creative executives constantly shifting gears/priorities
    Super Reactionary
    Titles/Updates are rushed out before they are finished
    The shadow of Diner Dash looms LARGE, everything you do will be compared to this game, or games from the studio's past. (Games that were developed by other teams quite a while ago)

    Advice to Management

    Trust your employees more. Less meetings. More Transparency as to the direction of the company and status. Stop with the lay-offs out of thin air, it insta-kills morale.


  10. There's room for great potential

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

    I have been working at Playfirst full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    Co-workers help each other out
    A lot of talent
    Enthusiastic people

    Cons

    High turnover
    Not a lot of transparency for such a small company
    Poor planning around crucial times

    Advice to Management

    Be more respectful to employees' personal commitments and more organized when it comes to planning production calendars. Also, avoiding changing key dates last minute will help keep the teams better organized and more on top of things.


  11. I've been working for PlayFirst for a few years and really enjoying it.

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

    I have been working at Playfirst

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The company has some really smart people. Some of the recent hires bring a lot of industry experience. The tech we work on is cutting edge. We've really built up a lot of experience in the mobile sector and are ahead of the current pack of mobile developers in a lot of ways.

    Cons

    As with others in the industry the going can get tough at times. Some projects are successful, others are not.

    Advice to Management

    Keep listening to the advice of those in the game pods. Combined they have a huge amount of industry experience. Good management is a combination of listening to others along with decisive decision making.



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