Playfirst Reviews

Updated March 4, 2015
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23 Employee Reviews

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  1. 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.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Change happens on a whim, depending on how management feels that day.

    • 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

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

    Pros

    The people that handle the day to day projects are really smart and friendly. There are some extremely talented engineers, artists, designers, product managers, and producers; they just need to be allowed to do their job.

    Cons

    Upper management makes incredibly rash decisions on a whim. It leads to people being fearful for their jobs if they say something that may be out of line that day, depending on what mood management is in.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management should trust their employees instead of getting offended when they ask for clarification on decisions. Staff know when you are trying to cover up for low morale.


  3. Helpful (3)

    Not The Place For Exciting Innovations In Mobile Game Design

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

    I worked at Playfirst (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    - There are still some good/talented people there
    - You'll learn how not to manage a team
    - You'll learn how not to waste your team's time with meetings
    - Basically, you'll learn what not to do

    Cons

    - Executive staff is not interested in making games that are actually fun, interesting, and intuitively designed
    - Monetization strategies are cute/baffling at best
    - "Management" is reactionary and not qualified/fit to critique the mobile games space
    - HR is unprofessional and passive aggressive
    - Company politics is toxic.

    Advice to Management

    I'm sure you all knew what fun, passion, honesty, and creativity meant before you jumped into the games scene right?


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  5. Well balanced, collaborative and transparent company.

    • 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 a year)

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

    Pros

    * Approachable and available leadership.
    * Culture of transparency in decision making.
    * Tries as much as possible to make decisions collaboratively
    * Great food and culture perks - balanced events and perks - I don't feel overwhelmed by activities that could interfere with my job duties, but enough to remind me why I like tech jobs.

    Cons

    * There've been growing pains. The management team really tries to promote up, but sometimes the people that are promoted aren't quite ready for the higher title, and their growing pains become the teams growing pains.

    Advice to Management

    Promoting from within is awesome, but maybe use more Jr. titles, and ease into the extra responsibilities.


  6. Helpful (2)

    Nice people that are a pleasure to work with

    • 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
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    The staff are genuinely nice people and great to work with. They are also smart and talented. There is free food such as daily breakfast, rotating snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. Some play Rock Band in the game room after work. Though alcohol is no longer provided for free like most start-ups, it can be brought in for some after work fun after a hard day or to celebrate a milestone.

    There is a lot of collaboration going on, sometimes too much. But let's leave that as a pro.

    Cons

    As much as they claim there is none, there is plenty of politics among the upper levels. Beware of backstabbers and people who pretend to be hard asses but can't stand up for their own team. There is no politics if you agree with everything the leaders say. If you don't, just be careful, or be a critical part of the team because if you're not, you'll be readily replaced. There is a reason why most of the staff has been at the company for less than a year and a half.

    There is a lot of reactive instead of pro-active decision making. Often decisions are made with little data (from a very short time frame) which impact the teams who have to scramble to accommodate these "emergencies". Deadlines are also tight and are determined by the business people, not the ones who do the actual work so be prepared to work long hours if you're on a production team.

    There is also decision making by committee in some departments. Those departments suffer from leaders who cannot make a decision without approval from external departments, often ignoring their own team when it comes down to the final stretch.

    Finger pointing happens - if something goes terribly wrong, be prepared to have emails, IMs and other items on hand to prove you were doing your job. Some leaders will blame other teams for things going wrong or will have unrealistic expectations that result in consequences that they can't take responsibility for.

    Advice to Management

    Collaboration is good but at the end of the day, make your own decision instead of getting universal approval. Plan ahead and stop reacting to every little blip on the radar. Listen to your teams, don't force your agenda on them and expect perfection.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Its OK company. not much up side

    • 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
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Good work life balance. Good people used to be there.

    Cons

    No business strategy or energy in upper management


  8. Helpful (3)

    Smoke and Mirrors

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    - Location
    - Nice food perks, such as free snacks
    - Benefits
    - The Few good people left who haven't been terminated and are trying to make good games.

    Cons

    - Unqualified "executives" who are poor people managers, lack integrity and are more concerned with protecting themselves than with providing a positive work environment (such that employees do not feel empowered nor are they recognized for all the sacrifices they have made for the company).

    - All reviews processes have been removed and so you are just left scratching your head as to if you're working towards anything ever and if there is any improvements it might be too late.

    - Irrational decision making - see advice

    Advice to Management

    If you disagree with someones opinion or ideas try figure out a solution instead of terminating them so you can sweep it under the rug. Don't let VPs bully their own team members and throw them under the bus.


  9. Helpful (2)

    Great people, dysfunctional leadership

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Orinda, CA
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in Orinda, CA

    I have been working at Playfirst

    Pros

    Great people, casual environment, good benefits.

    Cons

    Leadership is constantly changing and as it does, so does your role in the company.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate better with your people.


  10. Wonderful people make this a great place to work.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • 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

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    Number one reason: the people. They are smart, talented, funny, and best of all? Decent human beings.

    Next are the perks - playing games for work, the game room, free food, laptops for every employee, the great view of the bay.

    Cons

    Some departments aren't treated as well as others - some have a great work-life balance, others are overworked though they try to give them lots of food to keep them sane.

    Advice to Management

    Love the games we make, be sincerely passionate about the industry that we're in.


  11. Helpful (1)

    Great talent, volatile strategies, lack of vision and technical discipline.

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

    I have been working at Playfirst

    Pros

    Talented engineers and designers to work with
    Flexible work schedules
    Many fun things to do
    Cutting edge technology

    Cons

    Volatile strategies
    Lack of transparency
    Irrational decision making
    Excessive pressure
    Cut throat competitiveness

    Advice to Management

    It is important to factor in technological challenges in making business decisions and people should be respected for their ideas, not for agreeing with the management.



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