Sony Online Entertainment Reviews

Updated March 23, 2015
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  1. A good place to start

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - QA Tester in San Diego, CA
    Former Contractor - 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
  2. 5 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
  3. 10 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
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  5. 1 person found this helpful

    Good times, not-so-good pay

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - QA Tester in San Diego, CA
    Former Contractor - 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 2 people found this helpful

    A Good Ol Boys type of atmosphere

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Web Developer - Front-End in San Diego, CA
    Former Contractor - 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
  9. 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
  10. Good, but limited

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

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Not a lot of opportunity for advancement
    Marketing is underdeveloped and underfunded
    Limited resources
    Internal relationship politics

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Actively 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.

    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful

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

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

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

    Pros

    Talented 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.

    Cons

    Lower 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 ManagementAdvice

    John 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves 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)
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