Sony Online Entertainment

  www.sonyonline.com
  www.sonyonline.com

Sony Online Entertainment Reviews

Updated November 4, 2014
Updated November 4, 2014
84 Reviews
2.6
84 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley
John Smedley
64 Ratings

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 12 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)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Talented developers, but horribly crippled development process out of their control.

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

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Awesome kitchen, great HR and IT departments, and enough monitors for everyone to have three or four. The company is also not afraid to spend money on team events every few months, or for cake and beer after shipping a DLC.

    Cons

    Upper management is too far removed from the actual development process to understand its huge flaws. Developers are consistently forced to martyr themselves with a substandard tool set, horrendous build process, old hardware, and an unstable code base. Some departments are forced to do this with an insufficient amount of people, causing them to have to pull the weight of multiple people while still coping with all of the above. More work and projects doesn't mean more people or more forgiving deadlines, it just means more work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Understand the flaws in your development process and actually use some resources to fix them. I understand that it doesn't directly generate revenue, but it would go a long way for the quality of the product, not to mention employee retention rate. Movies, cake and monitors are great, and they are appreciated, but they make it only marginally less difficult to deal with the same problems day after day, with no upper management willing to allocate resources to fix them. It's a far greater motivator for people to stay if they can actually enjoy the work they are doing, and be excited about the project. But they can't do that when the development process is terrible, and they are constantly forced to ship substandard quality work even after torturing themselves trying to make it work in their favor.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Nobody will appreciate your work

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

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    free coffee; free bagels and donuts on Fridays; every once in a while a free movie theater visit; you can bring your friendly dog

    Cons

    they hire people only as temps/contractor, unless you are a genius with special skills; they won't ever make you a permanent SOE employee, just so that they won't have to pay for your benefits; you won't make much money, barely enough to be able to make a living; they don't care about quality, more about quantity; everybody there has lost motivation and only wants to leave; regular layoffs make sure that the company is shrinking

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    care more about your people and you will have employees that will want to do great work to produce successful games; don't beat down everyone's motivation and learn how to appreciate someone

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    A creative and exciting place to work without being micro managed.

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

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Creativity, opionions, and just being yourself is encouraged. Feel like writing an idea on one of the white walls or the white boards all over the building feel free to. Its a very laid back and stress free environment.

    Cons

    They like to do what I call, "Test drive before they buy" so they like to contract you out first before deciding if they want to bring you on full-time or not.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I am very happy with management and the communication they have with their employee's.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    Inexcusably low standards and apathy across the board

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

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Spotted throughout the company there are actually some really talented, nice people who have learned to just accept the laughably flawed process that Sony Online considers "Game Development". The quality of life of living in San Diego and the fact that all dev teams rarely crunch is pretty nice.

    Cons

    Sony Online Entertainment is the most bizarre place I've ever worked in my entire life. The standards at SOE are extremely low. I mean LOW. Low as in mind-blowing can not fathom how this company is profitable, how some folks wound up in their positions, and harness such poor effort, quality, and nonsense among the vast majority of their complacent and lethargic employees. If your whole mentality, approach, and general attitude towards making games is "eh, whatever who cares (knowing your work is riddled with bugs, will negatively effect other people/disciplines, and are ok with using broken, buggy, and extremely frustrating and annoying tools, then you will love it at Sony Online Entertainment. It's almost as if they reward mediocrity. If you read more reviews about Sony Online Entertainment, you'll see a pattern of employees past and present complaining about "Upper Management". Well..They're all accurate. The problem with these few people is extremely simple. They're not very good at their jobs. They really want to be; they're just not. When you have people in management positions who simply aren't very good, with subordinates (some of whom) are extremely talented, experienced, and motivated, those subordinates get beat down. Your motivation, creativity, inspiration, drive, passion..Gets BEAT DOWN to the point that you just can't keep spinning your wheels and just give up to the corporate & political world that is Sony Online Entertainment. The further you reach, in attempting to get information about a product or design will result in you being perceived as someone who's a lone wolf or going against the grain and it is EXTREMELY uninspiring to work in this type of atmosphere. It's a real shame that other studios are forced to close their doors who have such healthy game development processes and people, while (somehow) Sony Online hasn't closed due to making completely average (at best) games. Totally mind baffling.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I honestly don't think there is anything I could say that any manager at Sony Online Entertainment would ever actually take into consideration. They're mostly all stubborn know it all's who one way or another suck up to the president, Smed.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Working hard to ship award winning games and satisfy our dedicated fans

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

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

    Pros

    Great compensation and benefits, great co-workers, great games, and great fans.

    Cons

    Some times crunch is excessive.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep an eye on the work life balance and long term goals.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    About what you can expect for a standard call center

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Billing and Technical Customer Support in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Billing and Technical Customer Support in San Diego, CA

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Free coffee.
    Doughnut and bagels once a week.
    No drug testing (sad that I have to stretch to that for a pro...)

    Cons

    Senior management had no idea who you work (workflow) or some of the abuse you put up with dealing with customers.
    Enough pay to barely make a living in the city they are located.
    No chance of being hired as an official employee for about five years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop only using contract and actually hire people, might give them pride in their work

    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Avoid, Avoid, Avoid

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

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

    Pros

    Typically the hours don't crunch very much and the day-to-day work/life balance is even.

    Cons

    This company is riddled with people who have simply given up, or newbs being trained by beaten down has-been's. It's like a retirement home for developers who once cared about making great games. It is truly uninspiring to work in this atmosphere and it most definitely shows in the games that SOE produces (Even though upper management and Smed say that they're so amazing..yea (cough) sure). You will probably move up in the company if you "play ball" (aka: kiss ass, keep your mouth shut, and don't rock the boat), and in doing so you're basically selling out to a corporate/political force that is very much present. The management is the most incompetent I've ever seen, they allow employees to get away with unacceptably low standards of quality and effort and never take action on anyone or anything even though it's obvious that they should. Most people who work here have families so they are simply not willing to open their mouths, send that email, or ask that question that NEEDS TO BE ASKED/DONE. Everyone has given up and it is NOT the place to be if you are interested in making great games. I didn't feel lucky to work at SOE in any sense and quite frankly felt as though I took many steps backwards in my career.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fire yourselves.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    A flaming hole of suck

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

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Free bottled water... that's about it.

    Cons

    Nepotism and gross incompetence at the executive and director levels. I worked on multiple projects ordered by the exec team that resulted in negative revenue or 0% conversion. I was also instructed to work on multiple projects that were cancelled suddenly without explanation. Essentially... there is no coherent strategy or direction. Ever.

    General inattention to quality by a lot of C-grade employees who make up a disturbing proportion of the workforce. Software bugs in everything - both the games and the websites. If you work here, be prepared to do your own QA on any project.

    Processes are a horrible mutation of Agile which don't resemble any industry standard that I'm aware of.

    P.S. Working on smoggy Miramar Road will cut your life expectancy by 2 years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Clean up your infrastructure and fire ineffective people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Do not work here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    Pros

    Free Coffee and Ping Pong Tables

    Cons

    Terrible pay, excessive overtime, clique like managements. Outdated software development techniques. Life becomes the job, not family friendly.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your employees and care for their needs. Implement new strategies for success, and forget about what you did in the 90's.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great for a first job into the gaming field

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Foster City, CA
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Foster City, CA

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Don't need much experience
    Really easy to get into
    Pay is okay for the work performed
    Great people to work with
    Pretty good work environment
    Lost of over times to make extra cash

    Cons

    Horrible managers
    Really bad hierarchy
    Managers treats workers like kids
    Almost impossible to get a promotion
    Some times was forced to do over time or you would get in trouble if you didn't do it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your workers with respect. Also forcing your workers to do over time is pretty much illegal

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

Sony Online Entertainment Photos

View of the Sony Online Entertainment headquarter office located in San Diego, CA (Photo by Coolcaesar - available under CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 & GFDL, v1.180)
SOE Lobby

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