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. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good benefits, decent pay, dysfunctional office politics

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

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

    Pros

    Great benefits with respectable pay. Pay scale is lower but benefits help to offset this. San Diego is also a very nice town to live in as long as they pay you enough to be middle class. Nice building facilities.

    Cons

    Office politics are terrible and render the organization pretty dysfunctional -not a meritocracy. They tend to pigeonhole you so personal and professional growth is hard to achieve. This is a good place to work if you're new to the industry as it can be a launchpad to better careers at other places.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Results matter. Look at your results -this is the only gauge of performance that counts.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    great people, horrible middle management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Game Master (Graveyard Shift) in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Game Master (Graveyard Shift) in San Diego, CA

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    this could be a great place to work if you are an excellent networker.

    Cons

    do not start in qa/cs these jobs go nowhere.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Okay start, but don't stick around

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

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    SOE opened up many doors but

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

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Swag, Perks, E3 and Fan Faire

    Cons

    Launch Days, Upper Management and lack of a decent break room.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    For starters it helps to know your employee’s by first name or last instead of referring to them by the project they worked on Smed. Also it seems a lot of people at SOE made promise they never intended to keep from games credits to future job openings.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    You won't learn much, but at least it's a game job in San Diego

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

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

    Pros

    At least it's a fairly stable job that allows you to enjoy living in San Diego
    It's game development, so that's always a little more fun and laid back than other companies

    Cons

    No one in upper management had a prior job where they learned first hand how to build and run a great organization.
    The level you come in as is the level you're going to stay … forever.
    There is a core circle of friends of the president, and then there's everyone else. Keep your opinions to yourself and just accept what you're asked to do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Replace yourselves with people who know how to build a successful company, not just one that manages to survive.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    Reactionary circle jerk while looking to recapture faded glory

    • 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 (more than an year)

    Pros

    - Some very smart engineers who have creative ideas.
    - Benefits package is very good
    - Filled with passionate gamers who are dying for a successful game
    - Week off of Christmas without counting as PTO
    - Lots of people in mid to lower levels that are pushing to make break thru changes

    Cons

    - They make games that are just not fun, with no long-term sustainability other than a very small niche group.
    - Weak marketing campaigns, and very low budget to do it on. Recycled ideas that show little originality. But are probably stuck there by low budgets for poorly performing games.
    - Sweep under the rug or spin poor results of promotions, campaigns, game launches, etc... without ever holding anyone accountable.
    - Finally starting to pay attention to analytics that other companies have recognized for years.
    - Struggling to find a hit game caused them to reach to purchase some truly awful games (Bullet Run, Wizardry, Dragons Prophet) which are a waste of everyone's time.
    - Way behind on technology for making and supporting games. A few key people in love with stuff they dreamed up as a "standard" that all games must use, but in reality is a poor excuse for what a modern tool or language or open-source standard could do for them.
    - Cut QA teams so much that we can't do our job to the level we all want. Very little investment in tools or processes to make this aspect of the company better.
    - All teams are on a shoe-string budget, so very little hiring to bring in help, reserves, or fresh blood. (Not sure but there seemed to only be one System Administrator in the whole company due to people leaving or getting layed off). Requests for work took a long time to get completed as the tech folks were always waiting on getting a server or support to work through legacy processes.
    - Working with teams that say they are using "Agile" processes is frustrating. Compared to what other companies do to adhere to Agile, SOE just uses a term that allows management, Smed, or marketing, or seemingly anyone to throw more tasks (with very little requirements) into the "sprint". This caused delays, or frustrations. Sometimes a key part of the system being built would be completely dropped, but not because of priorities, but because necessary requirements were changed so many times that no one knew what they were trying to build. By the time it reached QA no one was able to tell us what it was we were supposed to test in detail.
    - Bonuses are always a small fraction of what was promised as the games are not making the money they need to support the company.
    - Rarely seem to finish strategic initiatives to allow future advances on game support or underlying technology.
    - People that have innovative ideas that embrace new technologies, and who stand up to the "SOE lifers" that are protecting their archaic ways are often marginalized, let go, or back-stabbed to the point they become ineffective.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Might be time to bring in some new senior people for game design, tech, and marketing departments. Long playing MMOs are out of style when they have no objective but to keep grinding. Consoles and mobile games with clear objectives are where the industry is heading. No one on staff (left) has any knowledge of this.
    Lots of good people are endless frustrated by the over-promises, and failure to deliver on anything.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    A lot of potential, marred by inept management

    • 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 full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Regularly attracts good talent
    - It's in San Diego and Austin

    Cons

    - Short-sighted and often plain bad promotions led to production issues on numerous projects
    - Long history of promoting from within results in managerial stagnation and ineptitude
    - Anemic marketing department, given too much sway over development
    - Numerous top level decision failures resulted in company with tarnished rep and fewer prospects

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Hire managers externally, not within - it's breeding favoritism over potential
    - Stamp out rampant problem of politics, often encouraged by managers
    - Cut the fat: there are a LOT of mid-responsibility people on the payroll who serve little purpose, and take up resources to hire the Tier 1 and 2 people you do need in CS, QA, Art, and Jr Devs
    - Cross-platform is a lofty goal but it's not worth it
    - Pre-production planning has been SOE's Achilles heel for years, from SWG to EQ2 to The Agency. Hire external producers who know how to stay on vision and are on board with the project.
    - Leave the marketers out of dev meetings. Period.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves 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

+ Add Photo

Work at Sony Online Entertainment? Share Your Experiences

Sony Online Entertainment

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.