Sony Online Entertainment

www.sonyonline.com

Sony Online Entertainment Reviews

Updated January 11, 2015
Updated January 11, 2015
85 Reviews
2.5
85 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley
John Smedley
65 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

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Tremendous opportunity mixed in with some occasional old ideas.

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

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

    Pros

    Decentralized organizational structure and a startup mentality culture means that employees with initiative and tenacity can easily create opportunities to benefit themselves as well as the company. Has the potential to change the face of the video game industry in the next five years.

    Cons

    Can be needlessly bureaucratic. Sink or swim environment isn't for everyone. Legacy systems and lack of mature processes mean that economies of scale are hard to come by and business innovations are often stillborn. Must mature or stagnate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Clean up the free riders and the dead wood. Hire a executives from successful service organizations to manage the nuts and bolts of the business. Partner them with the visionary CEO and creative leaders on the game development teams to create strategy, refine market opportunities and business deliverables and develop robust business models. Communicate goals and expectations clearly throughout the organization so everyone understands how their job contributes to the bottom line (either as a cost or a profit).

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    unstable

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    A good place to start

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

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

    Pros

    You are well-treated. Even as a contingent tester, you are invited to go to all the special outings with the team, and are fed during crunch time, and are even given one-on-ones with your supervisors. Additionally, it's a good way to get noticed by higher ups and move your way up the ranks.

    Cons

    The pay is not great. And sometimes it seems harder than it should be to get hired on from being a contingent employee, even if your work is outstanding. This has more to do with budgeting than anything else, but it is nonetheless a detriment.

    Also, get ready for A LOT of crunch time, as is standard in this industry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep your employees more well-informed. Feeling more connected encourages communication, which fosters good workflow.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 4 people found this helpful  

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

    • 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

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 9 people found this helpful  

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

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

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

    Pros

    Good 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.

    Cons

    There 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 ManagementAdvice

    Start 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.

    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good times, not-so-good pay

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

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

    Pros

    There 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).

    Cons

    Zero 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 ManagementAdvice

    Be an advocate for your best people and a champion for quality!

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    A fairly typical gaming QA experience.

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

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment part-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible hours, management relatively easy to work with.

    Cons

    Low pay, QA advice rarely listened to.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    QA 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.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    No support for the support.

    • 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 full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    A Good Ol Boys type of atmosphere

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

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

    Pros

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

    Cons

    I 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Learned Lots of new technologies and testing methodologies.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - QA Tester
    Former Employee - QA Tester

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    listen 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

    Doesn't Recommend
    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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