Sony Online Entertainment Reviews

Updated July 10, 2015
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82 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    Great work environment; no room for advancement

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

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    Work environment is incredibly friendly

    Cons

    No room for growth within the company Pay is very poor Very top heavy

    Advice to Management

    Hearing that I'll never get a pay increase in my first week is very rough to hear.


  2. Helpful (5)

    Nice People Who Are Too Accepting Of Mediocrity And Nepotism

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

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    The expectations are very low and you'll often be play testing games. Most people are very nice.

    Cons

    Game team leadership has an abundance of arrogance and elitism. Game teams hire their friends and ignore talent from other departments. Compensation is well below market. No stock options or grants. No opportunity for advancement (no one is let go for poor performance). It's easy to pick up bad habits as management resists change. With little to no coding standards, the game code is a mess. The company is continuing to downsize as players leave EQ and EQII. Significant use of contractors.

    Advice to Management

    Eliminate under performers and promote those who excel. Develop a company wide coding standard and enforce it. Bring back the internship program, particularly for designers and developers. Stop over promising to customers. Substantially raise hiring standards and compensation.


  3. Helpful (4)

    unstable

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

    Disapproves of CEO
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    huge profits flowing in from the robust online gaming community. enthusiastic teams that enjoyed both developing as well as playing the games with the community.

    Cons

    there is an insider's club of the original founders and development team that receive funding and support for their projects even past the viability of the game.

    Advice to Management

    consider spending more on organizational development and team building between the development teams and the headquarter support functions


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  5. Helpful (7)

    Get out as soon as you get on a development team.

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

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than 8 years)

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

    Pros

    - Good place to get your start in the industry. Promotions from QA & CS are common. If you bump into Smedley (current CEO) in the street and say something that amuses him, he may also hire you without any previous game/development/tech experience. - Impossible to get fired. It doesn't matter if you don't actually do anything, you can keep your job indefinitely, especially if you're a programmer. See: Cons - There are several brewery tasting rooms nearby. They're within walking distance so you can drown your sorrows before, during, or after work.

    Cons

    - Complete incompetence of management. The people steering the ship have no idea what they're doing. Nobody in charge has made a successful game this century. They also refuse to listen to the few experienced individuals who they have managed to hire. - Inexperienced staff. Since there is such a prevalence of individuals that have been promoted out of QA/CS/the street, the vast majority of people have only ever worked in game development at SOE. In several areas (particularly production) it's a case of the blind leading the blind. Nobody receives the training necessary to KNOW how to do their job properly. - Low turnover. The ratio of useful employees to useless ones skews heavily toward the latter. In addition to being plagued with inexperienced staff, most development teams have staff that either doesn't actually work, or are just straight up bad at their job. There is no personal responsibility or discipline taken against employees who continually fail to deliver. Bad employees are never let go as Smedley (and therefor all of upper management) sees the company not as a business, but as a family. Having a family is great, but this one is full of siblings you wish you could disown. - Too much value placed on programmers. In reality, they're the easiest to replace as most positions in this discipline can be recruited from outside the games industry. In every round of layoffs that the company has had, the programming department is always the least affected (often not at all affected), leading to an abundance of programmers who have no reason to fear losing their jobs and continue to underperform. - Unclear pipelines & muddy communication. The flow of information between disciplines is terrible. This is mostly due to inexperienced production staff, but is also affected by middle management never having been exposed to a functional work environment. - Poor games. It should go without saying, but all of the above is what contributes to the overall fact that the quality of games being created by SOE is terrible. The budgets are AAA, but the results are worse than most dedicated hobbyists could pull off. The structure that supports SOE allows it to create MMOs, which is the only thing that makes this company unique. This genre is dying and in need of some large changes to revitalize it, unfortunately I don't think the current incarnation of SOE is capable of doing that.

    Advice to Management

    - Complete any projects that have direction and achievable goals with positive outlook - Planetside on PS4 - DCUO expansion - EQ & EQ2 expansions - Cancel everything else - EQ Next - Landmark - H1Z1 - Remove C-level staff - Remove Franchise Directors - Lay off vast majority of programming staff - Ask senior programmers who is worth keeping - Ask remaining programmers, artists, designers and producers who actually WANTS to stay - The number is so low it may shock you - Change the name of the company - Recruit competent C-level employees - Restaff back up to 25% or less of the original headcount - Being far more selective and only hiring quality employees - During this restructuring time period, use the talent on hand to enter preproduction - A hand full of small (MMO/non-MMO & mobile) titles - Evaluate all projects and only enter production on few - Ensure reasonable scope, given this simple formula - cost = time * headcount


  6. Customer Support Representative

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in San Diego, CA

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    Great work environment, excellent review system during first 3 months

    Cons

    Got laid off, but kind of the nature of the beast working as a contractor.

    Advice to Management

    Have more people like Jeff Bard


  7. Great People, Great Games

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

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment (More than 8 years)

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

    Pros

    The people here are creative and excellent to work with. I loved my time there and would work there again if I were not in the wrong city. I felt that I was able to move up the ladder at SOE. Passion and drive are not frowned upon (at least not by the people I worked with). The upcoming games look excellent and I think only the sky is the limit for the company.

    Cons

    Sometimes the overall strategy can take a 2nd place to last minute ideas and changes that should be given more time to percolate. They have made some awful mistakes int he past, but I honestly believe they have learned from them and are on a better footing for the future than they were in the past.


  8. worked on the web design team

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

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time

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

    Pros

    really great benefits, medical etc. that also included things such as free life drawing classes for artists. Really fun projects and titles to work with. Got to work with other talented artists and devs. The web design management team at the time was supportive and not political at all. I'm not sure that I can say that about other departments.

    Cons

    the design team needed more power to run their department and sometimes marketing would be allowed to run design projects badly. On my way out though it looked like this was less and less the case. They were a little slow to embrace changing web technology and we would still get hampered by having to do things like make sure all projects worked in IE6 and this was in 2008. They definitely need to trim their losing titles and get some better products out. Definitely bureaucratic at times.

    Advice to Management

    don't let bad management stay too long. All in all though great people, great work, great resources and a talented team. I did see some promising titles just sink after a lot of hard work.


  9. Helpful (4)

    Employees are NOT NPCs!

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

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    The people at SOE are so creative. Working with the game designers and the artists was quite a kick.

    Cons

    The team I worked on pretty much ran on long hours, insane deadlines, and incompetent incomprehensible management. The throw the phrase "crunch time" around like it's breakfast cereal, then take off on their own multi-week vacations.

    Advice to Management

    Hire some? Consider replacing most of your directors and all of your VPs with someone who actually knows and/or cares that SOE is a BUSINESS.


  10. Helpful (4)

    Okay start, but don't stick around

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

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    It's pretty easy to get an entry level job You have a decent chance of getting an apprenticeship for code/design/art/sound It's pretty laid back

    Cons

    Management has absolutely no clue who's good and who's bad Takes forever to get promoted, if you do Nepotism rules all, so playing politics is better than being good at your job Be ready to be micromanaged to the teeth

    Advice to Management

    Find some way to figure out how to judge your employees properly. Nobody likes to see someone with less experience and less talent get promoted while they are stuck stagnant because someone doesn't like them for whatever reason. Remove the nepotism and judge based on performance.


  11. Helpful (5)

    Good start, but probably nowhere you'd want to stay.

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

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time

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

    Pros

    SOE is a good start to the gaming industry through their internship programs. They also seem to keep their contract workers and hire them on full-time. They provide decent project completion bonuses for the big ones, and direct management cares about their workers.

    Cons

    Certain pet projects of upper management wind up having fairly significant changes demanded left and right - even on a friday afternoon the weekend before a beta launch. There seems to be a consensus among some employees that upper management makes very questionable decisions, particularly in regards to priorities. Too often, there would be a demand for a feature that imposed significant code change which would put the project months off schedule, and yet we'd be expected to somehow keep the schedule regardless.

    Advice to Management

    Make the marketing department talk to developers and qa before they announce upcoming features and release dates. Some features they think aren't much require significant code change and provide a long stressful hassle for the development and qa teams that could be avoided, or at least improved, by better communication.



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