Sony Online Entertainment
2.5 of 5 75 reviews
www.sonyonline.com San Diego, CA 500 to 999 Employees

Sony Online Entertainment Reviews

Updated Apr 18, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.5 75 reviews

                             

28% Approve of the CEO

Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley

John Smedley

(57 ratings)

33% of employees recommend this company to a friend
75 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "It's game development, so that's always a little more fun and laid back than other companies"
    in 7 reviews
  • "At least it's a fairly stable job that allows you to enjoy living in San Diego"
    in 7 reviews
Cons:
  • "Upper management is too far removed from the actual development process to understand its huge flaws"
    in 11 reviews
  • "Senior management had no idea who you work (workflow) or some of the abuse you put up with dealing with customers"
    in 5 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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2 people found this helpful  

Stressful and annoying

Billing and Account Representative (Former Employee)
San Diego, CA

I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

ProsIf you can deal with the angry customers, you're in the clear. The people next to you are fairly nice, so you can usually ask them for help.

ConsThere are a LOT of angry customers due to poor game design, inconsistent site information, and simply... Stupid people. Opens at 7, and last thing you want to hear is a screaming customer.

Advice to Senior ManagementStop standing around chatting with each other and keep an eye out on the chat... The longer a customer has to be on the phone, the angrier they get, and we have to deal with them, not you.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Good, but limited

Senior Global Brand Manager (Current Employee)
San Diego, CA

I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment

ProsA lot of talented people
Great, friendly, casual atmosphere
Fun games
Down to earth Executive team
Lots of access to top

ConsNot a lot of opportunity for advancement
Marketing is underdeveloped and underfunded
Limited resources
Internal relationship politics

Advice to Senior ManagementActively retain talent. Instead of waiting for them to threaten to leave, you should actively attempt to retain top employees. Invest in market research and test concepts before drudging ahead with projects.

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Excellent place to get started as a designer, but don't bother staying there.

Game Designer (Former Employee)
San Diego, CA

I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

ProsTalented and motivated Quality Assurance and Customer Service members are often given opportunities to apprentice for other positions including design and art. Benefits are very generous. Corporate perks include a nice discount at the SonyStyle store.

ConsLower salaries when compared to other development studios. Knee-jerk decisions regularly made by top-level management. Lay-offs seem to occur every couple of year. Major round of lay-offs in 2011.

Advice to Senior ManagementJohn Smedley, you are penny-wise and pound foolish. Nickel and diming customers at every opportunity and continually looking for ways to monetize parts of SOE's games is not a way to earn customer loyalty and goodwill. Instead it earns the ire of your customers and drives them to Trion and Blizzard who offer more "free" ancillary services. This, in turn, keeps their customers paying for subscriptions and micro-transactions month after month and lays the foundation for an utterly fanatical loyalty and sterling reputation. Also, by not paying designers and artists a competitive salary you reinforce the cycle of taking in raw talent, training them into professional positions, and then ultimately losing to better paying companies.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Management is an antiquated old-boys club out of touch with current game development

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
Austin, TX

I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

ProsThe pay was great, licenses were fun and line-level employees were senior and skilled

ConsExecutive management is the same crusty old team that has been there since Sony bought the company. They are out of touch with current development techniques and business models. They purposefully mislead their teams about ship dates and demand crunch for, literally, years at a time to ship product. It is not a financially healthy part of Sony and suffers from the fear and reactionary behavior that come from that fact.

Advice to Senior ManagementDo a better job of embracing console development and current MMO business models (Free-to-play). Be honest with your teams about crunch and ship dates. Update executive management with someone who has some exposure to modern game development.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Work quality overshadowed by who you know.

Game Designer (Former Employee)
San Diego, CA

I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

ProsThe pay is average for an entry-level position in the video game industry.
Benefits decent for full-time employees.
free coffee.
Great for getting your foot in the door of the video game industry.
Apprenticeship program allows contract employees to get hands-on experience in design, code, or art departments.
Employee camaraderie can (at times) be amazing, and it's easy to make friends in the workplace.
Producers of individual titles are easily approachable, friendly, professional, and very open to new ideas.

ConsNepotism at its worst. Promotions and long-term careers only available to people who are personal friends to middle management. This affects all departments: Design, QA, CS, Tech, etc.
Sr Management, like so many other companies, is full of older people who refuse to evolve their business models.
Annual mass-layoffs are expected at the beginning of the first business quarter.
The only real chance for the contract employees to gain full-time work is to survive the layoffs for about 3 years. Then they might have a shot at getting full-time employment (if they're friends with the right people).
Middle management/supervisors are not in touch with their employees. Problems that come up are ignored.
Like so many other game companies, SOE does not embrace new ideas/designs brought by their non-management employees.
Creativity is stifled.
Very "clique-ish" atmosphere, both for full-time and contract employees.

Advice to Senior ManagementAll video game companies are somewhat stagnant and refuse to allow creativity to flow. Be the innovators, SOE, and start listening to the new blood coming in the doors. There are some brilliant ideas out there, even among the contract employees. Open your door and give these kids a shot, the way you were given a shot.

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Do not work for Sony Online Entertainment

Associate Programmer (Former Employee)
Tucson, AZ

I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

ProsDecent benefits package.
Casual dress code, shorts and tee shirts are allowed.
The lower level workers are some of the best in the industry.

ConsNot only do they never let people take vacations, they will often make them work holidays and weekends as well.
12 hour work days are the norm.
Management simply does not know how to manage people other then through threats and intimidation.
Pay is very low for the industry, especially for such a large company.
Project managers are not trained for, or allowed to, manage projects.

Advice to Senior ManagementQuit. I did not meet one person in management above the level of project manager who was competent at their job. The only hope for this company is for everyone from the studio heads to the CEO himself to leave and make room for people who have a chance to turn the company around.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Relatively good place to work.

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
San Diego, CA

I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment

ProsHealth benefits are very good. Lot's of talented staff.

ConsThere have been some poor decisions from the CEO and upper management on games in development.

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Small company means that you have ability to gain vast amount of knowledge on various depts

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
San Diego, CA

I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment

ProsGood benefits and generous PTO plan
Great place to work if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get dirty.
Casual work environment - jeans and flip flops every day

ConsPay raises are not fair . It is dependent on who you can suck up to.
No advancement or advancement only attainable if you work 24/7.

Advice to Senior ManagementHave more work/life balance by cross training employees. Numerous employees are maxed out on their PTO. What does that tell you about the work environment.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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SOE on a downhill spiral despite their great pool of talents

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
San Diego, CA

I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

ProsHave 2 to 3 great titles in the market place that speaks for the great people that worked on them. Communication between same level departments above average. Great artists, designers, programmers.

ConsThe executive team. It turns out they are not qualified to turn things around. The same people in place since day one (with 1 or 2 exceptions). A change in leadership is required, otherwise SOE will be no more soon.

Advice to Senior ManagementMid to high level management - pretty much as good as to be expected.
To top management: It's too late for cosmetic changes like laying off people, a general overhaul is necessary, starting with you

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Missteps and fading competence.

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
San Diego, CA

I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment

ProsIt's interesting, it's cool, it's fun. The company is flexible and creative most of the time. John Smedley cares about his people.

ConsSOE has been bleeding talent. Too many of the people leaving have been the best, and they are not being replaced, or being replaced at the same level.

Advice to Senior ManagementBeware yes-men. It's the opposite of core competency. Capable people need to be empowered and listened to. Reward what works over what you want to hear.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Sony Online Entertainment reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Sony Online Entertainment CEO John Smedley. All 75 reviews posted anonymously by Sony Online Entertainment employees.