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Jagex Reviews

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Phil Mansell
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32 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Most devs who work there are great people who make it enjoyable to come to work, and have a lot of (often underutilized) talent (in 15 reviews)

  • 60 gift voucher on your birthday, team jollies, beer Friday, full health care cover, free gym membership (in 14 reviews)

Cons
  • Terrible HR and senior management (in 13 reviews)

  • Little to no career development or training opportunities (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (6)

    "Future prospects only for non game-devs"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Jagex full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    -Benefits are actually pretty good. Pension contribution is higher than most places. Once you've been here for a certain time, it's easy to stay put for these alone
    -Most devs who work there are great people who make it enjoyable to come to work, and have a lot of (often underutilized) talent
    -There's a canteen and kitchen in the office itself, so no sandwich vans
    -Crunch isn't a common thing, which is refreshing for a game studio
    -Flexi time
    -If you like beer rather than the money that pays for it, then you'll do alright
    -Within the RS team, there is some genuine care about player perception which is great for a community based game

    Cons

    -I have no faith in the upper management. Most do not have a shred of game knowledge, and it seems that they look at the studio purely from a financial standpoint. Creativity and innovation comes way below profits, DAU, and various other business-speak abbreviations. This is all drummed into the heads of devs which crushes creative spirit
    -Career progression is a no-go. That is, unless you can somehow get into a managerial position that doesn't deal directly with game development. There are dozens of positions that seem to have been created solely for middle management to progress in some form. Meanwhile there are developers who have been there for years who have failed to get promoted in any way because they haven't met some arbitary unmentioned criteria.
    -The technology used is incredibly antiquated and stifles creativity. And most importantly, it kills career progression as skills are effectively useless outside the company. Although there have been some movement to update things, it has come years too late, so every update for tools or engine comes with a huge caviat. There's not a strong enough interest to update this technology properly as it will eat too much into profits for investors.
    -Pay is low, which does not help as employees live in and around Cambridge, a hugely expensive city with declining public transport. The pay rise pool is often much lower that anticipated and is spread so thinly around teams. Considering there's such talk about profits, that money is rarely ever seen. However a lot of the money for pay always seems to go on stupidly extravagant things such as luxury hotels for a night in London or gin and beer. This might seem great, but most people would rather have the money to pay their rent than to go to a hotel for a night.
    -New products are the worst aspect of the company. It relies so much on RuneScape, the sole breadwinner, as there hasn't been a single successful game beyond that. There have been hugely expensive mistakes, which has cost the company; not just financially. There is far too much apprehension to do anything new, unless it has a RuneScape theme (apparently the branding and strategy teams thinks that RuneScape is more popular than it is, and this is the only way to get anything considered) and even still, any sort of innovation is mulled over for at least a year until it loses its unique selling points as other games flood the market.
    -When games don't succeed, it is the blame of the developers. The games in question get dealt with in various awful ways, be it getting pulled in a humiliating fashion, or just met with radio silence, much to the frustration of players and affecting the reputation of the company and game alike. One big problem is that these games always need to be huge multiplayer 'services' with long tails in order to rake in huge amounts of cash. However this ultimately means the targets are never met, and the game can never be just completed and put out as they don't function without regular updates. It's one thing that is consistent with games Jagex creates, and something that doesn't look set to change
    -Even though a lot have now left, there are a few obnoxious 'untouchables' which are only there because it is practically impossible to rehire for that position. They can often threaten to leave, get paid a ton more to stay (which will no doubt have a knock-on effect to others who will miss out on decent pay rises), and continue being awkward to deal with on a personal and professional level.
    -Morale is so low, it's laughable. It's been acknowledged thanks to surveys but very little is actually done about it beyond superficial changes such as a new coffee machine

    Advice to Management

    You might want to keep investors happy, but keeping employees happy and fulfilled is just as important. They won't be happy if they discover they've bought a building with nobody inside as everyone has had enough and left to do other things. Invest in tech, and respect that employees are talented and can make games; you don't have to outsource everything.


  2. Helpful (5)

    "Shoulder rubbing required"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Jagex full-time

    Pros

    Lots of nice people, great parties, occasional bonuses.

    Cons

    Questionable career progression routes for the specific few that shout loudest and rub shoulders with the right people. For everyone else progression is a confusing maze of undefined targets and lower-than-average pay boundaries.

     Some senior staff seem to be chair warmers that are easier to keep than dispose of whilst others are working themselves to exhaustion.

    Not sure what HR do, once you're in the door you won't see them again until you leave.

    Advice to Management

    Put more focus on making your staff happy with career satisfaction instead of flashy parties and beer.

  3. Helpful (25)

    "Turning the good into bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Director in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Office is at a great location with lakes, nature and is great in the summer
    - Christmas party each year tends to be a brilliant night with good food and booze
    - Some outstandingly skilled individuals that share their knowledge and inspire others
    - Outstanding game knowledge within the RuneScape team, there's a real passion to develop
    - Bonus payments at the end of the year if targets are met are brilliant if you perform well
    - A full day to work on personal projects / your own games every two weeks, good for creatives
    - Has an on-site canteen that's a little pricy, but food is okay and it's convenient

    Cons

    - CEO sucking creativity and passion away from people through implementing stupid strategies
    - CEO is openly offensive to staff on company live streams and doesn't treat women like people
    - Saving money is the top priority, to the point where you can't even get sign off for a team meal
    - Performance reviews for managers non-existent with no direction or role progression
    - Staff surveys get sent out and nothing happens as a result of feedback given
    - Culture and atmosphere losing the 'Games Studio' vibe more every day
    - Excellent role models being turned into boring, demotivated zombies
    - Organisation structure is getting unnecessarily complicated

    Advice to Management

    - Don't tell your managers how to manage people when you don't even do it well yourself
    - Stop saying yes to everything you're told to do and start challenging what's right and wrong
    - Value the staff that have been here a long time and stop calling them moaning pests
    - Look closer at your senior management team and realise they do practically nothing
    - Stop making promises to your staff to shut them up for a while, that you never intend to keep
    - Stop taking ownership of pay rises and bonuses and trust team managers to do it themselves
    - Stop setting unrealistic revenue targets for new games as it's demotivating your excellent staff
    - Take up the indie game development style, just throw out games quickly until you find a winner


  4. Helpful (9)

    "High turnovers for poor treatment of employees."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Jagex full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    nice office, nice pool table and free dinners.

    Cons

    Terrible management and middle management, no trust or respect paid to creatives - huge amounts of unqualified micromanagement, false transparency between the layers of staff, no penalties or firing for incompetence of those middle management when required due to ongoing office politics.

    Poor pay compared to the area average, terrible game direction and everyone there feels like the ship is slowly sinking. Huge amounts of layoffs, very high turnarounds for creatives, and if talent is hired it's treated badly and ends up leaving.

    The workplace is treated like a playground, with most of the staff very immature and unaware socially, firing nerf guns around or playing video games loudly during work hours, not any kind of atmosphere to work under.

    Advice to Management

    Actually listen to and respect the creatives more, give them more power - a month without the AD and more work was always accomplished.


  5. Helpful (6)

    "Dont know new management"

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

    Pros

    Fun and interesting product. Great quirky people

    Cons

    Management arrogant and ignorant.

    Advice to Management

    Thin about your people not the investors


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Going nowhere and not smart enough to know it."

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

    I worked at Jagex (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Lovely fruit baskets and cold water at the drinking fountain.

    Cons

    ceo desperately trying to have his first success story at the expense of everyone around him. Has backside kissers disguised as MBA's pretending to know what they're doing, and acting like they're smarter than they are.

    Advice to Management

    Sell the company to someone else. Let someone else try.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Jagexcellent"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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

    Pros

    * Talented, friendly staff
    * Lovely area
    * Good facilities & benefits
    * Significantly improved communication strategy with players

    Cons

    * High cost of living in Cambridge is not reflected in salary, nor are salaries adjusted in line with inflation
    * Promotion prospects for developers very limited
    * "Bread and circus" jollies and beer Fridays are not adequate alternatives to earning enough to pay your bills
    * Poorly managed - bloated, incoherent management structure with no accountability - strategy changes seemingly on whim
    * Horrendous systemic issues in workflow - prepare to spend most of your time fighting with in-house tools and painfully outdated tech, and reacting to last-minute executive decisions
    * Projects are often under-resourced, established without taking into consideration technical risks and limitations

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your development team - problems won't go away by ignoring them
    Recognise workflow issues and correct them
    Play the game. Know your limitations. Understand the player experience

  8. Helpful (11)

    "A company failing to reinvent itself."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Having worked at Jagex for the best part of ten years, I owe a great deal to the experience and opportunities that were given to me. I had the chance to work alongside some truly great people, both inside and outside of the company.

    Many of the staff are younger and have worked at Jagex some time, as such they have become fiercely loyal to the company in which they grew up. In some cases this translates into an intense passion and love for the product(s) on which they work. For skilled workers, and those willing to make a noise for it, there is also the opportunity for generous salaries and bonuses - though do no be fooled, these are not the norm.

     - Passionate people, who care about their products
     - Generous salaries for those who fight to get them

    Cons

    Despite the tightly controlled messaging and marketing efforts, Jagex is a one product company. It has firmly failed to execute outside of the MMO space and its flagship product, RuneScape. As a product RuneScape is just about fifteen years old and something of a juggernaut, it's been an amazing success. However, the entire company is built upon this foundation, which looks shakier and shakier each passing year.

    The current efforts to monetise RuneScape to the hilt will only increase. With the RuneScape Old School product now equal in popularity to the main game, the temptation to monetise that will, I fear, prove too great to ignore.

    For new employees, I would also add this word of warning; the on-boarding process is incredibly poor. Through recruitment, to day-to-day employee care the HR department is absolutely the worst I have ever worked with. Whilst they pay lip-service to the importance of culture and being a "games company" this is absolutely not something they value in practice. On more than one occasion I have witnessed (and experienced) them outright lying to employees.

    Which brings me to the most troubling aspect of Jagex, and ultimately my reason for leaving. With one or two notable exceptions the senior management team at Jagex lack integrity. This became most apparent through the shockingly badly handled redundancy process after the closure of Transformer Universe (I was not, fortunately, affected).

    Again, outright lies were told to employees and external partners over the true reasons behind this. During that process the previous CEO and several of his senior team left the company. The resulting vacuum in leadership ensure that political manoeuvring and infighting became the norm. It was joked about amongst staff at the time that the office resembled a plot line from Game of Thrones. With many of these people now running the company, I am reliably assured things have not improved.

     - An ageing single product company who have been unable to execute on new ideas
     - An over reliance on the monetisation of single product, at the expense of good design decisions
     - A truly poor HR department
     - A lack of integrity amongst senior management


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Not bad, but not great either"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Jagex full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Nice location. The Science Park is lovely, especially during the Summer.
    Great people.
    Friendly atmosphere.
    Talented individuals.
    Free payday beers.

    Cons

    Incredibly poor management. In my time at Jagex, I've been on two projects which have both suffered from the same problems. Often you are not told what's happening, what you should be doing, and there are numerous occasions where everything would inexplicably change much to the amusement of everyone else on the team. You are often left to your own devices, which can be great, but eventually turns sour as you feel like you've been completely forgotten about and have no value.

    Regular and systematic communication issues. As briefly touched upon, the communication at Jagex is awful. You often hear quite important information through the grapevine and almost never through the proper channels. This is improving but it's still nowhere near where it should be.

    Bad decisions are made on a regular basis, usually by people who are not qualified. Designers and QA are regularly ignored by the execs despite their (often) vast experience and knowledge on the matters at hand. The surest way to annoy your team is to ignore their pleas and concerns then continue to force terrible decisions anyway.

    Low quality threshold. Products and updates are often rushed out the door without proper testing which only serves to harm the already tarnished company name and causes regular cockups that could have easily been avoided if proper care and consideration was taken.

    Low pay. When you consider that Jagex is located in Cambridge; a place with high living costs; the pay is poor, especially compared to studios located in similar high cost areas around the country.

    No reason to stay. Yes, the people are great and the atmosphere is usually nice enough, but if you wish to progress your career you have to look elsewhere as there is little to no room for manoeuvring up the career ladder.

    Advice to Management

    Trust your staff. Listen to their concerns, acknowledge them and actually take them into consideration.
    Give your managers formal training and hold them accountable for their managerial skills.
    Release anything that isn't Runescape-related under a different name as Jagex is a brand name that will never be taken seriously by anybody except Runescape fanboys/girls.


  10. Helpful (6)

    "Discriminated against and ignored by management"

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

    I worked at Jagex full-time

    Pros

    The people on the office floor who actually do the work are the greatest and nicest people you'll ever meet

    Jollies are okay

    Free monthly work clothes

    Actively try to keep you in good health with regular walks and breaks

    Canteen with fresh food all day

    Cons

    Pay is absolutely terrible, barely above minimum wage.

    Smokers go out for breaks nearly every hour, overall they work a lot less than non-smokers.

    Staff who are nasty and selfish are quickly promoted, leading to promotion of their selfish and nasty friends. It's an endless cycle, an elaborate popularity contest messing with peoples lives. If you're not in the friend zone of the 'Senior' managers then you might as well not exist in the companies eyes. Ultimately, employees are not treated as equals.

    Senior manager purposely ignored emails and conversations which felt like I was set up to ultimately fail, which is against the core values of being an employee there.

    Illegally discriminated against by picking on my disability which was given as a reason why I couldn't be kept on the team.

    False promises are given to employees about rewards to make the employees work harder and forget about the obvious neglect via seniors.

    Lot's of overtime which you have to do or you basically lose your job.

    Employees left, right and centre being terminated makes you feel very insecure. Everyone given the standard excuse of 'no longer suits the company values'

    Advice to Management

    Grow up and stop messing with peoples lives. Employ or promote people who aren't selfish and liars.

    Promote employees with obvious desire to create great games, instead of just friendship bonds.


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