WMS Gaming Reviews

Updated August 27, 2015
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  1. Never a dull moment in a technology-driven industry fueled by addiction.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    PTO and benefits are good. Work-life balance is high. Perks like ping pong and a gym. Hours are great. No heavy crunch times if you're diligent and can self-manage.

    Cons

    Hard to trust upper management. Risk-averse. Afraid to fail. Metrics for everything. After 10 years salary has climbed to "above average." Decisions are made by a committee. Doesn't feel creative or fun even though this is a game company. Chasing our competitors and the market. Imitating. Building things we don't know how to build.

    Advice to Management

    In creative companies content is king. Leverage it. Champion it. Take chances and set trends. Learn to fail. Figure out what your good at. Base growth off known strengths and move forward. Why do I feel pressure to make everyone besides me happy? I've worked at other creative jobs before. And why do I feel like I'm getting ripped off in the lunch line?


  2. Helpful (4)

    WMS Gaming

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Easy Going Env't, Nice Break rooms,

    Cons

    Bad Leadership, Was fun at one point


  3. Helpful (7)

    Terribly bad leadership

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

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    There are still some good people at WMS and not all groups are bad. Some groups know what they are doing but they sit at odds with much of the rest of the company.

    Cons

    When WMS was swallowed up by SciGames which was losing lots of money every quarter, WMS went from a profitable company that rewarded their employees to one that’s big in the RED. Benefits slashed Reduced: 401k matching, amounts people can get for promotions/raises, medical and other benefits. Reduced holidays/PTO New hires have very little opportunity for advancement now and missed out on the days when you could get a nice salary bump every year. Management slashed/dysfunctional So much of the management was gutted that the void was filled with people who have no idea what they are doing. Engineers write really bad code and it’s applauded as if it was gold. Managers push really bad ideas and nobody squashes them. Moving from a FREE revision control system that is heavily ingrained to a really expensive one nobody knows how to use? Great idea! Let’s spend countless hours in meetings discussing things that don’t matter to anyone. Let’s kick off projects, but walk away from them before they fail and take all the glory for the idea but none of the blame when it turns out to have caused the company to lose a lot of money. Let’s be the cause a huge disruption, then turn around and become the self-declared champion to fix it. Work ethic at an all-time low People are in constant fear of another synergy/layoff, which seems to happen about every 3 months. Game Development culture feels like a chicken running around with its head cut off: We don’t know what we want, but we want you to get it done yesterday. So that idea I can’t fully explain to you, just get it done! Frequent shifting of priorities with no clear path forward. The pattern is: Wreck a project, then kill it. Don’t expect any professional development process (Waterfall, SCRUM, etc). Development process is an amateurish Code and Fix. Want to bring order to chaos by rolling out some professional policies and procedures? People have tried but they end up fired. They lose to the argument that people are “too busy” for process. In fact, most people in charge never even worked somewhere to learn what a good process even is.

    Advice to Management

    If you want to turn this company around, hire some people from outside who have real experience and give them the power to make some changes. Hopefully there are some managers at Bally who will figure out who knows what they are doing at WMS and those who don't.


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  5. Helpful (7)

    Complete Trainwreck Since SG Acquisition

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    None of the paychecks have bounced yet! But seriously, WMS used to be a fantastic company to work for. Good benefits. Good co-workers. Good environment. This has since changed 180 degrees.

    Cons

    Since the SG acquisition, the company has COMPLETELY changed, and it is a total disaster now. Management does not communicate at ALL with the regular employees. When one of the many "interim" CEOs took over and was asked if he should send an email to all employees to introduce himself, his response was "why would I want to do that?" Prior to the acquisition announcement, WMS on its own was making EARNINGS to report to Wall St every quarter, despite a SECULAR DECLINE in the gaming industry. The numbers weren't blowing anyone out of the water, but they were stable and consistent. Now that Scientific Games has taken over in a leveraged buy-out, the added interest payments on the debt taken out to acquire WMS has turned it into an UNPROFITABLE entity. (Also utter and complete mis-management from the top has also been a large contributing factor.) The debt payments are an albatross that we will never be able to get out from under. Taking on EVEN MORE DEBT with the Bally Tech acquisition is probably going to fail. Everybody internally knows it. I think it will be funny when Wall St finally figures it out too. In the mean-time, party on Garth, and let the stock ride up while the top brass cash in on stock options and pull the rip-cords on golden parachutes. All the employees see the writing on the wall, and work ethic has seriously suffered. I honestly miss the days when I would come into work, contribute to developing great products, hear encouragement from management, and help the company earn money. Those days are long gone, and are never coming back.

    Advice to Management

    Enjoy it while it lasts! Hahah.


  6. Helpful (8)

    Changing for the Worse

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The Chicago office is a beautiful, pleasant environment to work in. Although "thank you days" were taken away in 2014, the company still has a generous time off and holiday policy and ample free parking makes up for it's Avondale location.

    Cons

    Unfortunately none of the Pros are directed towards the day-to-day work and management. The two mergers in the last year have destroyed morale and the new management leaves little hope for restoring the morale in the future. The company went from from an employer of choice who viewed its employee's as the most important asset to a company that penny pinches and only cares about the bottom line. Management is directionless, creating an extremely difficult work environment for its employees.

    Advice to Management

    Do not forget about your employee's. Employees took what was provided by past senior management and boosted WMS's reputation to one of the best places to work in Chicago. Take those perks away? That reputation has and will change for the worse.


  7. Helpful (5)

    Two-time employee...probably won't be three....

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Fun environment to be in...if you're used to normal, boring IT/engineering work, being somewhere with art, music, games, etc., is a welcome change of pace. Company embraced its long history as Williams Corp., who made the pinball machines and video arcade games for generations of youth.

    Cons

    Chicago location can be difficult to get to (no easy access from Metra or CTA trains). Company is going through two consecutive buyouts/mergers, and the corporate environment is changing DRAMATICALLY. NO clear picture as to upper management vision, and the old Brian Gamache ways of treating each individual like a valuable commodity are fading away, day by day. When I was laid off, my immediate boss did not know, and I went from my director saying "hey, can I talk to you for a minute?" to being escorted out in less than 10 minutes, with no opportunity to retrieve personal effects or say goodbye to people I'd spent years working with.

    Advice to Management

    Remember who Williams/WMS used to be. Treat people like family, not like budget items.


  8. Helpful (9)

    Sad End to An Awesome Company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Facilities: Gorgeous new Chicago campus - digital displays in every conference room, TV-worthy basketball/volleyball court, 2 gyms, yoga, EFT sports training, an above-average cafeteria, free soda, pool tables. Product: One of the most fun products to work on. It's great to be able to see the work you've done in the hands of the player. People: Some of the best you'll ever work with. Will go to heII and back to produce an awesome piece of SW with focus on player experience. Parking: Ample, free parking. Beware of angry, dive-bombing birds in the Spring.

    Cons

    Structure: Obscenely top-heavy. 1:2 ratio of VP/Directors to developers. Culture: Once great - rivaling Google - culture has turned into an "every man/department for himself" fiasco. Finger pointing, non/miscommunication is rampant, and morale is at an all-time low. Management: Runs on the "Good Ol' Boy" system. A secretary (yes, administrative assistant) is VP of Game Development... Enough said. Benefits: After the aquisition by Scientific Games, benefits have been slashed. Medical and dental, along with 401k matching, are on par with Walmart.

    Advice to Management

    Dear Scientific Games Execs, You know nothing about casino gaming, and you're killing the golden goose. Good luck.


  9. Helpful (4)

    Interesting, but odd culture

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Was given plenty of room to explore new ideas

    Cons

    Fear seems to be imposed from the top down resulting in work being done for the sake of it


  10. Helpful (7)

    Used to be one of the best...now not so much!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at WMS Gaming full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Work-life balance was exceptionally tailored to the employee in most cases. It was usually up to the individual's manager but typically the company was very family friendly.

    Cons

    Where to start- Since the merger this company has gone straight down the tubes. NO Morale among employees, everyone is waiting for the day they walk in to be fired. There is little to NO communication anymore as to what is being done since the merger, which gives all the more reason for employees to feel uneasy and confused. In my opinion this low morale has traveled its way up to managers. Great managers have turned into barely adequate co-workers. There used to be a "team" feeling around the office and now it is every man for himself- how do I prove I am worth saving- how can I show my worth?! Not to mention- this company has turned into an all men's club.So Ladies, if you are looking into this company, SGI, or Bally's...DONT! You will get hired at a lesser title and for lesser pay! HR is complete joke at this company. It is not run by rules or standards but more or less who you are friends with and you have angered in the past. Some of the top HR personnel got the job merely because of their last name and who they are married to in the company. Training and advancement for employees is lacking significantly since the merger. The entire training department was dissolved as of a year ago. There were no "GOALS" set for any of the departments until a month ago, which is already more than half way through the year. Benefits used to be one of the greatest around. Not anymore, not even close. When have you heard of a company that charges you for insurance based on your pay grade/band level??!!! Plain and simple, since Brian Gamache left the culture of "Employees come first" is long gone. It is a company about bottom dollar, how to make the most buck with the cheapest most complacent employees.

    Advice to Management

    Stick up for your employees, fight for them. Dont try and save every penny in your budget so that you get a bigger bonus at the end of the year. Give your staff the titles and raises they deserve when you fire the rest of your team and make them do 5x the normal workload. Most importantly- every Joe and Bob that works there doesnt need to have a "VP" in front of their title. I have never seen a more top heavy company in all of my career!


  11. Helpful (4)

    Once the best, now falling like a stone.

    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Developer in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at WMS Gaming full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - State of the art facilities - Excellent cafeteria - Talented coworkers

    Cons

    - Location is difficult to get to; no easily accessible public transportation. - Morale is at near zero. There has been intense pressure to hit quarterly numbers, with veiled threats about the looming next round of layoffs. The general mood seems to be that nothing we do will matter in the end anyway. - Significant feeling of betrayal: SG's acquisition of Bally only a few months after WMS has appeared particularly suspect given the new CEO's close ties to that company, and the curiously high price per share paid to acquire it. - Benefits and perks slashed: "Thank You Days", extra holidays, we're eliminated. Bonuses were changed to put more emphasis on overall company performance than individual performance. Cafeteria costs rose as the company subsidy was cut (or eliminated, don't know for sure). Benefits were cut *significantly*. - Totally rudderless management: roadmaps change monthly, miscommunication runs rampant. Priorities seem to be shifted weekly. - Zero training budget: And I mean ZERO. Transitioning to an extremely complex new tool? Hope you can figure it out on your own. New hires don't even get a tour of the facilities any more. - Poor processes: Company pretends to do Agile development when in fact it is utterly ad-hoc chaos disguised with some Agile buzzwords. Documentation for software frameworks and tools is totally nonexistent, or worse, outdated and incorrect. Culture of diffusion of responsibility means that nobody ends up being responsible for anything, resulting in a horrific mismatch of pet design patterns, scripting languages, and API conventions.

    Advice to Management

    I'm not sure this company can be saved at this point. You are essentially gutting everything that made me want to work here in the first place.



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