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BioWare Reviews

13 reviews

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Andrew Wilson
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13 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great people to work with, good focus on work life balance (in 10 reviews)

  • Positive helpful work environment (in 13 reviews)

Cons
  • Connection means very little for future attempts at full-time work there (in 8 reviews)

  • There is almost no room for advancement unless you're a friend of one of the 'old guard' (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (5)

    "Toxic environment for innovators and free-thinkers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Austin, TX
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at BioWare as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    As far as major video game companies go, BioWare puts on a better show than many of acting like they truly care about employee quality of life rather than cost-benefit equation for assessing risk of disgruntled employees. There are some in low level leadership positions that actually do care. This care doesn't mean anything when it would change their bottom line, though, or change studio operations in any significant way.

    Cons

    When I first arrived, the work environment was great. Eventually all social conversation that didn't focus on video games, wardrobe or pop-culture were verbally shamed. People were clearly feeling ashamed that they didn't hold the same ethical standards that I and some others did, and chose to instead mock me for having empathy and refusing to be a socially narcissistic nihilist.

    The worst was when my team lead took it upon himself to mock me for giving feedback on how the workplace could be more conducive to the employees. It was over an issue I could sue over, and the workplace was completely in the wrong. Despite this, I didn't want to create the antagonism of a workplace lawsuit, so instead I brought up the merits of change, and the reasoning behind it. I will never forget the defensive reaction of my lead and the silence of HR, as though I was telling them to be ashamed. We worked in an environment that is supposed to thrive on criticism to make itself better. Instead it placed a high social barrier that is needed before criticisms would be considered from an individual. This is a highly toxic environment for people who like to innovate, adapt, and grow. I still have nightmares about a couple people in this company.

    Advice to Management

    Do not deride your employees for caring about things beyond the scope of the workplace. Especially when those things effect the social climate of the workplace in a very real way.


  2. Helpful (10)

    "Management needs to get their act together + EA = Not Good"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at BioWare full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Relaxed atmosphere, got to work with some brilliant people

    Cons

    Really makes me sad to see what's happened to this company. Only worked there for a short time before the layoffs started, but long enough to see what the problems are. Marketing is driving the business into the ground, making initiatives that make no sense. It's as if they don't realize their audience is gamers, and that's a fail right there.

    Management simply doesn't listen to the brilliant folks there. I don't know how many times I walked from a meeting shaking my head in complete confusion as to why rational common sense ideas were thrown out in favor of what the marketing head thought was best.

    I don't believe all game companies are run like this, even BioWare's other branches. But when you have EA looming over your shoulder insisting to see immediate increases in subscriber numbers yet cutting funding in all departments, coupled with horrible management, all the while listening to the marketing department instead of your core audience... yeah. You can see where that's going.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the very vocal, and very talented, people who AREN'T management. Take their ideas to heart and realize that not only are they your workers, but they also are your audience. Realize marketing has its place, but its place is NOT in making decisions that shape the company.

  3. Helpful (6)

    "A complete waste of my time"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - QA Term Tester in Austin, TX
    Former Contractor - QA Term Tester in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at BioWare as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The tiny perks - free breakfast, ice cream, lax work environment. lower level staff is great.

    Cons

    Relocated cross country for job only to be laid off after a few weeks, company completely disolved the QA from this studio(Austin). Higher ups have extreme attitude problem. Contractors treated like complete dirt. If you can get on and stay your whole contract you basically have to be buddy buddy to get hired on full time, being good at your job has no meaning here.

    Advice to Management

    Don't have 60%+ of your workforce be contractors, don't fire them right after you hire them, and how about trimming the fat where it is needed and not where you can save your buddy buddy's job.


  4. Helpful (12)

    "Led on by false promises of a full-time position"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - QA Analyst in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - QA Analyst in Austin, TX
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Free breakfast catering and ice cream stocked weekly. Generally lax work environment. Decent pay. Hours aren't as overburdening as most other QA positions. Immediate supervisors were good people who respected the team.

    Cons

    Employs a ridiculous amount of contractors with almost no capability for advancement into full-time positions as the company is too stingy to pay for benefits. Regardless, employees are promised a chance of getting full-time if they work hard enough, which is a blatant lie: even my friend who was one of the most important tech staff in the studio, who often outpaced his full-time coworkers, was not brought on after the end of his contract.

    Most of the full-time staff looks down on the contractors and sometimes even takes credit for their work. Senior management almost never communicates or even acknowledges contract staff. Very cloak-and-dagger about unannounced information, to the point of management outright threatening employees that they would intentionally ruin their career in the gaming industry if they said leaked a word of new content.

    Horrible software and often dysfunctional hardware supported. Benefits are barely worth mentioning.

    Advice to Management

    Stop cycling out contractors and leading them on, hire internally for full-time positions. Actually acknowledge your contract staff and realize how important more full-time staff are for long-term project quality.


  5. Helpful (9)

    "A job, not a career."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    EA has great benefits and competitive salaries. Name looks good on a resume.

    Cons

    Unless you were hired when the company was founded there is zero chance for advancement. Lots of weird politics, nepotism and unfathomable decision making. Management is clueless about building anyones careers but their own. Production always seems like its their first project ever. Get in, get a credit and get out. Innovation is rejected from a place of jealousy and insecurity as the old guard (the 1%) are easily threatened. Best way to get a new idea in is to 'Inception' it into their brains so they can think they had it. Ugly facilities.

    Advice to Management

    Good luck with this type of leadership across three studios.


  6. Helpful (10)

    "BioWare Edmonton"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at BioWare full-time

    Pros

    Many great people
    Family-oriented
    Some highly talented people there
    Makes great games
    Generous time off at Christmas

    Cons

    High level of politics and nepotism, especially among the senior leadership
    Edmonton is a cold city with the studio in an uninteresting part of town
    Lower salary compared to other studios
    Crunch lasts between 6 months to over a year
    Difficult to advance unless you are good friends with senior leads

    Advice to Management

    Talent is being lost; many reasons are because of the leadership. Listen to employees concerns and act, instead of driving them away. Be humble and check the egos at the door.


  7. Helpful (10)

    "Sadly, a shell of its former self"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at BioWare full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    teams work hard to keep culture intact, still a sense of pride to work for company, support teams work hard to make environment fun as possible with restrictions given

    Cons

    not the same company it was 5-10 years ago, and reflects in the # of senior managers that have either left or been let go
    Benefits have slowly eroded or been revoked by EA

  8. Helpful (7)

    "Great place to work as long as you can steer clear of the drama"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Designer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Designer in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Lots of really great people
    -Moving between departments is relatively easy
    -Projects are pretty cool.

    Cons

    -Tons of politics and drama
    -Zero support for innovation unless it's a lead's pet project
    -Rotten core of senior leadership that does nothing to improve the situation
    -There is almost no room for advancement unless you're a friend of one of the 'old guard'.
    -Crunch - all of the crunch. Every project I've worked on has resulted in 80 - 100 hour weeks for at least 6 months.

    Advice to Management

    Bioware is long overdue for a 'changing of the guard' - people in senior positions refuse to fix the very serious personnel issues festering beneath the surface & it's driving talent away from the studio. Either bioware will clear house and move into the future or it will crumble - not sure which way it will go.


  9. Helpful (7)

    "More politics than you would think."

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

    Pros

    Great benefits and very talented people. Many debs truly love the games they make.

    Cons

    If you are not part of the old guard you will have trouble fitting in. They do very little to innovate, either in terms of the products they release or in their work methodologies. They have become exactly like EA in how they treat their employees and dishonesty abounds.

    Advice to Management

    Become leaders and take action quickly when it is called for.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Could be so much better."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative in Galway (Ireland)
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative in Galway (Ireland)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Benefits are pretty nice - the salary for such a position is quite high. Add in game points, allowances for hardware, and so on, and it's not bad.
    You also get your fingers in a /lot/ of EA games, if you don't mind a support position. A huge number are supported here.
    Culture is mostly good - lots of employees are gamers as well, and it's easy to chat them up.

    Cons

    However, support seems to be the limitation. There is very little opportunities to advance in any meaningful way. There is little to no help with career progression short of the occasional suggestion of an opening in the same studio.
    There is no progression to Senior representative or Team leader - if you're at the base Customer Service job, you're staying there unless you find another employer, or know someone in another studio in the first place.
    Work hours fit the customer base demands, but are rather brutal on the free time - even if you feel like doing things, you're often too tired to do so for a day.

    Advice to Management

    More opportunities, more help with advancement, and more actually giving credit to people who do a lot of the hard work.


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