Sony Online Entertainment

  www.sonyonline.com
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Sony Online Entertainment Reviews

Updated Jul 25, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.5 79 reviews

30% Approve of the CEO

Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley

John Smedley

(61 ratings)

33% of employees recommend this company to a friend

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)

More Highlights
79 Employee Reviews
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    6 people found this helpful  

    An overly complacent culture satisfied with mediocrity detached from the rest of the game development community.

    Programmer (Former Employee) San Diego, CA

    ProsGood compensation, benefits, and some great, talented people if you know where to find them. Crunch times are rare. If you're very motivated, you might find opportunities to really improve technology. The underlying technology behind client-server communications works quite well. San Diego is a beautiful city.

    ConsThere seems to be a prevailing culture that is content with relative mediocrity. Mediocre visual presentation quality, long loading times, poor frame rates, and frequent seconds long hitches and stalls are the norm here. There are technical reasons for these issues that are lost on the majority of the engineers who work there. Those engineers that bring invaluable experience from other game studios that produce far superior titles face an uphill battle as they attempt to explain how things can and should work better to technical leads. Some tech leads in particular are highly intelligent software engineers, but would be better suited to lead work on non gaming applications while they have little to no experience working at other game studios, and on top of it all, don't seem to even enjoy playing games very much, especially the competition. Micromanagement is often a big issue as well, and finding support when you really need it from tech leads is very challenging as they are spread too thin managing everybody else. Be prepared to be chastised for writing code that isn't compliant to an arbitrary personal standard even if it's highly legible, works flawlessly, and all but impossible to break.

    Effective developer tools are largely non-existent here. Other engineers have an air or arrogance when it comes to realizing the importance of good tools as they seem to think that they are the ones that make the games and fail to support the real hands-on developers: designers and artists. There's a real failure to realize that good tools means faster development time, and faster development time also means superior quality of output since motivation can remain high.

    Negative cash flow year after year with routine mass layoffs make company longevity outlook pessimistic. SOE employs hundreds of people, and despite working there for years, I have no idea who most of them are, and always wondered why despite there being so many people getting paid, the quality of work is abysmally low overall.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStart completely over. Throw all the current crappy in-house developer tools away and make new ones. There are employees that are highly motivated to make great things happen. Find them and offer more incentive to succeed. Tech leads stop micromanaging engineers, and allow them to lead themselves as experts in their own specialties. Designate experts in all fields: graphics, animation, physics, sound, tools, and delegate supporting roles toward them rather than trying to be the point-man for everything.

    – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Good times, not-so-good pay

    QA Tester (Former Employee) San Diego, CA

    ProsThere was a lot of interdepartmental socialization and communication. I often felt like "part of the team" instead of "just a QA". Occasional chances for career paths out of QA. Occasional work-sponsored activities (e.g. parking-lot barbecues, movie days).

    ConsZero job security. Baseline pay, even for QA, with little chance for improvement/raises. Politics and favoritism in upper department management. Occasional unprofessionalism from colleagues and managers.

    Advice to Senior ManagementBe an advocate for your best people and a champion for quality!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    A fairly typical gaming QA experience.

    QA Tester (Former Employee) Austin, TX

    ProsFlexible hours, management relatively easy to work with.

    ConsLow pay, QA advice rarely listened to.

    Advice to Senior ManagementQA is never going to improve until you can retain your best testers. Your best testers will always leave for better paying jobs (that they might enjoy less or not be as good at). QA is never going to improve until the salaries do.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    No support for the support.

    Billing and Technical Customer Support (Former Employee) San Diego, CA

    ProsGreat Co-Workers, good learning experience, amazing products, good opportunities to see the industry from the inside.

    ConsIt is almost impossible to advance beyond a starting position. The pay is a bit low. No benefits or vacation to speak of.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTry to acknowledge the effort of the good employees. There is no incentive besides the treat of unemployment - change that.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    A Good Ol Boys type of atmosphere

    Web Developer - Front-End (Former Employee) San Diego, CA

    Pros- Really talented (artists and technical) colleagues.
    - Laid back atmosphere.
    - Good equipment and tools to work with.

    ConsI was there is a temp and aspiring to get on fulltime. While I did enjoy the laid back atomosphere there were some employees that were not dependable. We're working on a deadline, long hours and stressful and some folks in my group spent the evenings playing with kit airplanes in the employee parking lot. Was a real Good Ol Boys atmosphere. In the end, was offered a position at another company with a huge sign-on bonus, great benefits and salary.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Learned Lots of new technologies and testing methodologies.

    QA Tester (Former Employee)

    ProsLearned a lot of new technologies as well as testing methodologies. Experienced a fast past work environment and developed quick response testing abilities.

    ConsOverworked and long hours for very little recognition. Feedback and input was never acknowledged or recognized by senior management nor ever acted upon.

    Advice to Senior Managementlisten to your employees and remove the layers and layers of upper management give a clear and concise picture of the companies goals and objectives don't leave everyone in the dark

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Good, but limited

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

    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.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

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

    Game Designer (Former Employee) San Diego, CA

    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

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Surprisingly archaic Software Development

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    Pros- Work environment is pretty laid back, though lots of the perks are gone
    - It's in San Diego, which has nice weather. Management would have you believe it is because of them

    Cons- Old boys club. SOE is full of management that has not matured with the online game industry. Products are uninspired, tinkered with by the CEO endlessly based on the games his kids decide to play that day, and late to market, not because they are spending time getting things right. They waste time making basic software development mistakes that you can read about in books from 30 years ago.
    - Nepotism all around. Growth and success in the company is more dependent on relationship with the right folks than performance. Learn to say "Yes we can!"

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet some fresh talent in at the top that has success in the "Online" marketplace in the last decade. The industry has matured and bringing back EQ folks may not be the best way to get with the times.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Relatively good place to work.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) San Diego, CA

    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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