Kabam - What happened to this place? | Glassdoor
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Helpful (26)

"What happened to this place?"

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - -anonymous- in San Francisco, CA
Current Employee - -anonymous- in San Francisco, CA
Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

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

Pros

Kabam has a great work/life balance across most departments that I've worked with: engineering, marketing, art, product, etc. The rank & file employees are friendly, laid back and people are always willing to help. The pay used to be pretty far under market but the company has been fairly aggressive in the last 6-12 months to try to correct for this. Compared to other top gaming companies, the pay vs lifestyle is very favorable. Lastly, the perks are really nice: lunches and dinners provided (if you stay late enough), and lots of snacks/drinks readily available.

Cons

It's sad to say, but the biggest con to working at Kabam is 100% the executive leadership. When I refer to the leadership, I am really referring to the President, who is in charge of the day-to-day. The CEO is a nice guy but he has gotten less and less involved over the years - to the point where most of his time is now external facing, preparing for a potential IPO, talking to investors / board members, etc.

The president of the company has been a one man wrecking crew for the past several months. I've lost count of how many well-respected Vice Presidents, Directors and other high ranking employees have either left or been laid off due to the toxic politicking going on here. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that just about every single one of these employees would point out the same exact things about this "company leader". The problems are that A) he's extremely short sighted, B) it's either his way or the high way, C) he lavishly wastes company resources on his personal travel & entertainment budget and D) he is a terrible people manager.

Extremely short sighted. The company leadership, led by the President, have constantly squeezed the life out of new pipeline projects by ensuring all new games conform to the standards of either the current top grossing game(s) in the market or to the whims of his supposed product leadership experience (of which he has none). Teams of artists, engineers and PMs will work for several months concocting a new title and in the 11th hour the President will show up with a bunch of BS theories about how these games should be designed because only he knows best. All the previous work gets thrown out and what you end up with is a patchwork quilt of crappy game mechanics and monetization practices. Management also piles unrealistic revenue goals on top of all the game teams to the point where the "customer focus" is now, "how do we rip off our top players?". I can't remember how many times management has directed teams to use aggressive promotions and gimmicky sales (cutting to the bone) just to make quarterly revenue goals (hey our business has been damaged, but we're going to Vegas for meeting goal!). Then they panic when the beginning of the next quarter/half underperforms, and the whole cycle repeats itself. Customer complaints are not taken seriously unless that person has spent thousands of dollars with the company.

His way or the high way. Self-explanatory, but let's just say I've witnessed several evolutions of: 1) some employee rises through the ranks, 2) employee gains the President's favor and becomes one of "his guys", 3) employee is given more responsibility to lead a department or project, 4) department or project either underperforms, or is not led in the style that the President likes 5) employee is passive-aggressively moved further away from priority projects, 6) employee either quits or gets laid off as they're no longer working on core products. The executive in question never has the guts to look somebody in the eye and communicate honestly. Instead, rumors start swirling about how someone has fallen out of favor, and by that point all is lost.

Lavishly wastes company resources. Again, self-explanatory. It's a poorly kept secret around the office that the CFO has had to confront the President on many occasions for his 6 figure + expense account. This guy then has the audacity to post pictures of his international bottle service excursions, 1st class flying experiences and 5 star hotel stays on his facebook account while trying to lecture the rest of the company about how we need to conserve budget and control expenses.

Terrible people manager. It's already been mentioned that a whole slew of well respected employees have left the company as a direct result of their interactions with this person. It's also been mentioned that he has "his guys" who pretty much get all the perks you'd imagine (off-cycle pay & title raises, choice of best projects, impromptu bonuses etc) while others who are just as good but not as well known (by him) are continually passed over for all of these benefits. His communication style is the worst - most leaders have an open door policy, this guy says only to email him. Ok, maybe understandable, but why does he have to be so smug & passive aggressive in his emails? This is a universally shared view across the company. But in his own words, "that's just how he rolls".

I think everything mentioned above captures the essence of what is wrong with the company. Why hasn't anything been done about it? For better or worse, Kabam, until recently, has historically grown at a decent clip. The board & CEO automatically attribute all of this success to the President. Did it ever occur to these decision-makers that the hundreds of employees working under the 1-2 main executives might have something to do with your success? At one point, I believe the President might have been the right guy for his position (2-3 years ago) but it's clear to anybody working here now that he has 1,000% lost the faith of the employee base.

Advice to Management

My advice to the CEO: either get involved with the company again or find a new leader who can repair the culture. Don't just show up to random town hall meetings, talk through the bullet points of Kabam's mission statement and then go unseen until the next meeting. If you want to be a multi-billion dollar company, then make the tough decisions and fix the culture one executive at a time. This used to be a great place that I'd be proud to talk about but now the best I can feign is indifference when people ask about the company.

Other Employee Reviews for Kabam

  1. Helpful (1)

    "If you are a builder of new things this is the place for you."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Culture genuinely supports new ideas and trying new concepts as long as you can show why something needs to happen and track the success. Great benefits, stock, catered lunch, location, and easy commute from the east bay.

    Cons

    For a company of 800 people in 6 different countries it is amazing that a lot of corporate services are not as organized or scaled as you would think. Probably due to transition from start-up to more stable, longer-term goals, but still can be frustrating when trying to organize a cross business project.

    Advice to Management

    Direction of company goals is clear when it comes to revenue growth, but it would be great to see more commitment to growth of quality and technology. If you look at our portfolio of games it does show growth on this level, but its not talked about as much as money. You would get a lot further motivating employees by focusing on our commitments to level up product quality instead of always pointing to monetization efforts.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Software Engineer Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Engineer Intern in San Francisco, CA
    Former Intern - Software Engineer Intern in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Kabam as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Work with smart individuals and everyone is willing to help.
    -Learn new things everyday.
    -Company is always trying to improve and maintain a strong place in the gaming industry.
    -Treated as a junior engineer not just an inter.
    -Contribute to real company projects.

    Cons

    Must work extra hours as an intern because a lot is expected of you.

There are newer employer reviews for Kabam
There are newer employer reviews for Kabam

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