Rocket Gaming Systems

  www.rocketgaming.com
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Rocket Gaming Systems Reviews

Updated July 22, 2014
Updated July 22, 2014
29 Reviews

2.9
29 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Ronnie W. Harris
18 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Good People, Improving Products and Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - QA Lead  in  Las Vegas, NV
    Current Employee - QA Lead in Las Vegas, NV

    Pros

    Let me start by noting that I work in the game studio, so most everything below is from that perspective. People in other locations and/or departments may have differing opinions.

    The corporate culture and environment are excellent; it's very laid back but the work gets done. Everyone gets along with everyone. Office politics are virtually nonexistent. Everyone is working toward the common goal of creating great products that customers like. People pitch in and help others without complaint. Disagreements are handled professionally. Current employees seem to like the job and enjoy working here.

    Some locations/departments have telecommuting options, though telecommuting is limited in the game studio.

    While there is a formal time off policy, when the need for taking time off at the last minute arises, it's never an issue. There is usually the opportunity to make up time by working late or on the weekend rather than use PTO for short appointments of an hour or two.

    The company recently moved to upgrade, nearly obsolete hardware.

    Though deadlines are usually met, decision makers will delay product releases if they are not ready or they feel that they will not be successful once released into the market. If it's due to the latter reason, we make the effort to change the product so it will be successful. Some products may get shelved if they cannot be fixed to give them a better than average chance for success.

    Company appears to be stable and improving.

    Very refreshing place to work after some of the very trying, highly political, CYA mentality, corporate environments in which I've worked.

    Cons

    The company has downsized twice since I've been here, which hasn't necessarily been a horrible thing as it did weed out underperformers and trimmed the fat, but it does mean that some groups, especially those working on some of the latest and/or core products that are key to company growth occasionally have to work long hours and/or weekends to try and meet deadlines.

    Downsizing did affect morale for a while and, unfortunately, some very good, highly skilled, valuable people left voluntarily due to fears of company stability.

    Salaries appear to be below industry averages. Compensation packages beyond salary seem to be neither much better nor worse than most companies.

    Market growth is slow, but that is partly due to the current nature of the industry. Internal growth, with regards to additional staffing, promotions, lateral movement and compensation increases, are currently stagnant.

    No opportunity for company sponsored professional development.

    Telecommuting, even part time, is not really an option in the game studio.

    Formal feedback/annual review system is broken. For me this is not a huge concern because my manager does a pretty good job with occasional informal feedback. However it does affect merit raises and promotion opportunities.

    Annual goal setting is a joke. The primary goal for each person is to do the job they were hired to do. That's not a goal; that's what people are paid to do. Additional goals given are rather meaningless and busy work. Employees have no real input on the goals they'd like to achieve.

    New game development is rather lacking. Most new games are simply old games with a new facade or minor tweaks. There is only one game designer responsible for designing new games. Other than brainstorming sessions to come up with new game titles and themes, little input is solicited from employees about new game features, math models, etc.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Executive Management seems to be doing a good job directing the company toward continual growth and new opportunities. They keep the rest of the company pretty well informed with what's going on in development, high level financial outlooks, product performance, tradeshow results and more with fairly regular quarterly all company calls and other informal informational gatherings.

    For the most part, they need to continue doing what they are doing: listening to employees, soliciting new product ideas from anywhere within the company, and keeping everyone informed.

    The main areas for improvement are fixing the feedback/annual review system so that those who deserve merit raises and promotions get them, designing a low cost company sponsored professional development program, allowing employees to have input on their annual goals, giving employees more input on game ideas and trying out some of those ideas to see what kind of reception they receive from customers.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Incompetence at its highest

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Grove, OK
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Grove, OK

    Pros

    Some good people work here

    Cons

    No raises even when promised by the owner, management is uneducated, management only hires friends or family. Management has zero experience , zero people skills, even when temps are hired the temps openly mock management for incompetence. Ancient technology, no tools, no communication , no support or direction , don't ask for support , tools, or direction or you will be given the hardest job. Other manufacturer openly laugh at the Rocket games. The "solution " to any problem at Rocket is to micro manage and throw incompetent leadership in the way, this place is a joke.
    They do not promote from within.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your people! Better yet give it up, you have rode this pony to death.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Worst Job I've Ever Had

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Developer  in  Las Vegas, NV
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Las Vegas, NV

    Pros

    Studio folks work well together.
    Excellent sales and support crew keep the company afloat.

    Cons

    The vast majority of mid- and upper-level management are incompetent and unqualified - with a few notable exceptions.

    Exceptionally poor technical environment ("platform" software), making development cumbersome, problematic, and time-consuming. Buggy, no documentation, hit-or-miss support. Titles take 2-3 times longer than they should. Worst API I've ever seen.

    Constant pressure for (unpaid) overtime.

    Constantly changing, conflicting, and overlapping methodologies and processes.

    Project management by crises - no forethought, planning, or support.

    Outdated product hardware and design; little likelihood for improvement.

    Almost no opportunity for career growth or development.

    Constant turnover - more than 50% higher than industry average.

    Company is financially unstable.

    *** Rocket could be a case study for everything to do wrong with a company ***

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Realistically examine the true capabilities and performance of each member of the 'Executive Leadership Team'. Only one of them is an asset to the company (Product Strategy). All others "talk a good game" but consistently move the company backwards (higher cost, more time, lower quality, less employee satisfaction).

    Abandon nonsensical "avant garde" methodologies that look good on paper, but are only partially implemented, continually changing, poorly understood by the workers, and would be totally ineffective even if they were used. Return to traditional, time-tested and effective strategies (perhaps including Agile).

    Provide more cohesion between the various operating units of the company; e.g. input from sales and support should be fed back to studio / QA / ELT, input from studio should be fed back to platform.

    Modernize the product as the highest priority - it's your only hope for survival.

    *** Ron Harris is a GREAT CEO, but he's getting sold down the river by his senior staff ***

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    stay away from this place

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

    Pros

    none..its a job if you are very desperate for one

    Cons

    everything! raging from little pay, no raises, sexual harassers getting promoted.....horrible place to be..very unprofessional management..sexism! (they hire candidates based on sex and manager was never shy to admit that)... at least one employee quits per month...managers don't care about keeping their employees happy so everyone quits eventually

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    management IS the BIG problem with this mess hole..

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Good place to work and would have stayed if school weren't so important.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Customer Service  in  Grove, OK
    Former Employee - Customer Service in Grove, OK

    Pros

    There was a lot of new knowledge to learn. Increased my knowledge of computer systems and servers.

    Cons

    Back/leg pains from sitting so much.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Lots of potential but not performing well

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

    Pros

    The casino industry is very lucrative, and an established company practically can't fail. They do seem to recognize technical talent, and competent engineers have plenty of job security.

    Cons

    They are stuck with old technology and unwilling to make the change to anything newer because it would cost money. A lot of fundamental problems are nearly impossible to fix because that might break some old software. Instead, they pile on workarounds that make the code base less stable and harder to maintain. Pay and benefits are substandard, and their policies are especially hard on new employees. The upper management is a tight group that reinforce themselves and outsiders are not allowed to make any changes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It is possible (I would claim that it is necessary) to bring out new hardware and new technology without breaking the existing lineup of products. It would also benefit employees if they were able to make recommendations, even small ones, and seem the company adopt them.

  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Awful management, but amazing colleagues

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Artist  in  Las Vegas, NV
    Former Employee - Artist in Las Vegas, NV

    Pros

    1. - The lower tier worker bees are great people to work with. Everyone is fun, and creative, and quite talented. They all want to make good products (see below for continuation of this), but are severely held back and therefore leave

    2. Working microwave?

    Cons

    1. - (continued from Pros 1.) HOWEVER. The management stifles everyone's creativity so severely, these creative people are ignored anytime they try to contribute creative input. Any of us, from any position, including artists, who ever try to offer input to improve our games we are waved off like meddling, incompetent children. For a company that keeps promoting progress and innovation, they sure do recycle a lot of the same old tired, unoriginal ideas. And they all come from one source.

    2. Lack of planning and time management in the studios, despite many efforts to revise the system for a more successful production pipeline. Products are shipped that look sloppy and inefficiently planned/produced.

    3. Outdated software and hardware all around, or refusal to provide necessary equipment at all. They have enough money to constantly spoil their investors, clients, highest level of management, but the studios are working with broken/old/nonexistent tools.

    4. Unqualified people in lead/management positions

    5. No streamlining of any processes for more efficient production. Instead, new, complicated designs and processes keep getting introduced instead of fixing what's broken in all of the pre-existing products and processes. There is constant contradiction of management wanting studios to make games faster, but while demanding new functions and designs that are not given the proper time for planning/testing/implementation, and therefore break, and therefore delay the game. But of course they make it the studio's fault.

    6. Highest level of management has no idea how miserable the lower tiers are. Even when told directly they avert their eyes and ears.

    7. Insufficient compensation

    8. Very political, petty hierarchy that shows extreme favoritism

    9. Leads do not stick up for their art team, and push unrealistic deadlines and expectations on an already stressed and short-handed studio.

    10. The smart people are leaving, because they know they deserve better and can get it elsewhere. Soon their staff will be limited to all people who need training but no veterans to do it.

    11. Management forces studio personnel into very uncomfortable social situations. Forced, because they are social events scheduled during work days and presented to employees as mandatory. If you do not show up, they look for you.

    12. Management/company expects the studios to improve their technical/software and broaden artistic knowledge/software expertise, yet doesn't provide the time for training and practice for
    implementation. Yet management makes it out to reflect on employee reviews as their fault.

    13. The art development is micromanaged to death, until all that remains is a tiny, shriveled, remnant of what the original design was, and could have been.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Somehow the BC offices are totally fine. Notice how happy OK is? The Vegas office is miserable, and it's no mystery why if you start listening. For some reason, the company is too scared to do what is necessary and replace several key people of management and leadership positions. Management just needs to listen to their employees, and stop treating them like unruly toddlers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  9.  

    If you don't like Rocket, wait 5 minutes, because it will change...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Game Production  in  Las Vegas, NV
    Former Employee - Game Production in Las Vegas, NV

    Pros

    - SOME good people work there

    - Good cash bonus for referring new employees (because they are desperate to hire new people, because of the large amount of current employees who quit)

    - New Vegas office has room for expansion (which they may or may not ever do)

    - Some of the mid-level managers actually care about their people

    Cons

    - Low pay

    - Employee contribution to health insurance is too high

    - The employee review system is intentionally set-up to limit good reviews (so raises are kept to an absolute minimum)

    - They regularly choose to promote from outside the company rather than promoting from within, even when qualified candidates exist within the company

    - Management changes the company structure on a regular basis

    - Management changes the game production pipeline on a regular basis

    - New Vegas office is crowded and loud

    - Low pay causes a huge amount of turnover in employees

    - The game themes are largely unoriginal and boring... And they keep making the same basic gameplay over and over. Zero innovation. Behind-the-times in a major way in this area.

    - Lack of flexible work hours (unlike the other gaming companies in town)

    - The software and hardware you work on is laughably bad. Also a distinct lack of available gaming test cabinets causes in-fighting over who is allowed to use them at any given time.

    - Huge lavish parties for clients, while employee parties are potlucks held in the meeting room

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Even my children know that when you make a plan, you stick to it! You really need to stop changing the company goals/structure, and especially the game production pipeline every 4 months. Spending as much time learning new pipelines as you spend actually working on games is frustrating.

    Please take a serious look at the equipment your people are using. The workstations are largely laughably bad (far below industry standards). Do you realize people fight over use of gaming cabinets because there are so few in the office??

    You need to take a good long look at your game themes and gameplay coming out of Vegas. They are as stagnant and out-of-touch with current standards and trends as games could possibly be. Why are the games coming out of that office largely designed by one person?

    I'm sure you know this, but just in case you don't: If you pay your people more, they will stop quitting in droves.

    Best of luck to you!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Worst Job Ever

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer  in  Las Vegas, NV
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Las Vegas, NV

    Pros

    management is incompetent, allows you time to do your own stuff.
    very chill.
    all the "worker bee's" are great people to be friends with.
    somewhat creative environment
    no overtime.
    "beer fridays"
    "cake and beer"

    Cons

    they don't understand anything about product development.
    managers are people who worked at casinos, not software develpment.
    they "try" random process to "speed up development" against advice from people who actually know how things work.
    shitty pay.
    they hire people straight out of school and try to lowball you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    fire and hire within.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    My experience at Rocket has been a great one because of the relaxed yet professional atmosphere and the genuine support.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Grove, OK
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Grove, OK

    Pros

    The executive team is constantly striving to improve Rocket Gaming Systems. They are a very hard working team and are supportive of the employees. This is a family oriented business. Even though we all work hard to accomplish our goals, the executive team stresses the importance of family and well-being.

    Cons

    There are times when we work long hours, but we are usually rewarded. Other than that working with Rocket is very satisfying.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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