Jagex Reviews | Glassdoor

Jagex Reviews

Updated February 24, 2017
129 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)

  • No real understanding of gamers outside of the core RS players in upper management (in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (6)

    "Rotting from the inside out"

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

    I worked at Jagex full-time

    Pros

    Benefits, entry into the industry,

    Cons

    Alternating between micro-management, absentee management, and brutally poor decision-making, the company doesn't seem to have any values they subscribe to and the strategy is little more than "moar money plx". Investment in creativity or innovation is non-existent; the most senior creative staff seem to be about five levels down the MBA-led management structure (none of whom show the first shred of understanding of game development), and technical skills are rated somewhere between the ability to send long emails and the ability to arrange long meetings.

    Advice to Management

    Show some humility. Learn what communication really means, and how/why you should respect the opinions of the people who create. Actually ask other games companies what's made them successful, rather than by scrutinizing their balance sheets, and you might get a sense of the respect that the best games companies have for creative innovation and how that's nurtured.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Worst company ever"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lead Software Developer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Lead Software Developer in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good salary and good benefits. Apart from that, the only good thing about that experience is the friendship of several people I met at that time.

    Cons

    Absolutely the worst company I have ever worked for in my 15+ years career.
    Management took one bad decision after the other, without listening to experienced developers on their team.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "Good Employer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Working environment is laid back

    Cons

    Managerial struggle to maintain proper organisation

    Advice to Management

    Become accountable


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Helpful (5)

    "Future prospects only for non game-devs"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Going in the right direction"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Manager in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Financial security
    Bright future
    Addressing the problems of the past
    Benefits and perks are great

    Cons

    Can be hard to integrate if new
    Resistance to change from lower level management who feel they would not be supported from above
    Lack of exposure to working in the wider games industry creates incorrect attitudes and opinions

    Advice to Management

    Keep pushing forward.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Structurally dysfunctional and lacking talent"

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

    I worked at Jagex full-time

    Pros

    - Informal working environment.
    - Wear whatever you want.
    - Free fruit and gym membership.
    - Some good people work there.
    - Creative staff deserve praise for the long running success of RuneScape.
    - Some fun events like RuneFest.
    - Good Christmas party.
    - Free beers on payday.
    - Recent financial performance is strong.
    - Recent office refurbishment.
    - Recently acquired so perhaps the future involves positive changes.

    Cons

    - Entrenched silos. You will only be exposed to your department and do work for your department. If your silo is not seen as important then neither are you. Efforts to broaden your skillset beyond your department will be unsuccessful because of this mentality.
    - Communication is poor. You will only hear about work you could add value to if your silo is required for something specific. There is no cross functional teamwork.
    - Disconnect between departments and a chasm between games dev and non-games dev.
    - Senior management is almost totally non-games dev. There is a total and complete lack of understanding that Jagex is a games company. Senior individuals are hired because they have MBAs, not because of their games passion, knowledge and experience.
    - Cronyism
    - Detached and isolated from the rest of the games industry. There is a widespread lack of outside Jagex games industry experience.
    - New projects are ill thought out and managed incompetently. Those involving games dev are led by individuals from senior management who lack games knowledge and experience.
    - The strategy department is the most powerful silo and operates in stealth to keep its primacy unchallenged. It fails to engage with others and acts beyond its competencies.
    - Many managers are poor team players who are ill equipped to develop their teams and contribute to the whole company’s success. This causes conflict and means career progression is limited.
    - Poor to average salaries made worse by the high cost of living in Cambridge.
    - Jagex’s major selling point is that it is a videogames company. This could make it a useful stepping stone for some but think carefully before being lured in by the bait of working in the games industry.


  8. Helpful (7)

    "Idiots or thieves; there is no middle ground"

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

    I worked at Jagex full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    The people you work with in the development teams are great, friendly and offer a good sense of camaraderie.

    It is a nice place to start your career in the games industry, just don't hang around long term.

    Some money does get splashed on the Christmas parties, so they are often good.

    They now have enough mental health professionals on standby to help you deal with the stress of working here.

    Cons

    Pay is appalling in the long term. The pool for pay reviews is very shallow. Your access to it is not determined by how hard you work or adhering to your development plan. Pay freezes due to unsuccessful reviews can extend indefinitely.

    Management ranges from poor to borderline bullying. Your line manager will likely be a developer who has been given the position and a little training, but cannot handle anything other than PDR's for happy (or at least non-vocal) employees. The result of this is either frustration as they are unable to push back against policy, or being tossed from team to team to try and make you shut up and/or quit.

    Middle and upper management have little to no idea how to make games. They consist of an aggregate of the worst managers who were at the helm when the product they were in charge of went under. Now they are are guiding the company as a whole with the same level of finesse.

    You can be demoted without warning or proof. Nobody, including HR, will bother to check if this was needed until they might have to prove it in front of a tribunal. Even then, don't expect them to admit anything wrong occurred when they back down.

    HR exist for two reasons; get you in and drum you out. Once you are in you can expect HR to defer to the closest manager, regardless of how against company policy his statements are. Other than that you'll maybe see them taking notes at whatever meeting is used to threaten your job or title. Note the maybe; this company has demoted people in the past without a member of HR or representative present.

    The company values are there to trip you up. Managers do not adhere to them, but woe betide anyone who they feel is not meeting all of them. They get updated every now and then with lofty goals of helping us all to work better, and are generally followed by a round of people leaving due to 'failing against the values'.

    Ultimately the actions of the people in charge of the company boil down to one of two choices. They are either so poor at their jobs that they have no idea what they are doing, or they are deliberately applying unendurable pressure to good employees to make them quit. Either way, the morale across the company has become EA levels of low, but mentioning it will get you punished.

    Advice to Management

    To the current managers; name me one credible, legitimate company that attempts to demote multiple people across the development teams without bothering to check if the evidence exists, let alone is true. You cannot sack your way into respectability or competence. You cannot paper over the rot indefinitely. The level of poor competence you display can and will come back to haunt you.

    To the new investors; if you want to ensure you are not left holding a gigantic, rotten lemon in a couple of years, go through the management team with a fine-toothed comb. Better yet, speak to the actual developers, artists, etc in confidence, and get an accurate picture of who needs to go to prevent the game keeling over.


  9. Helpful (11)

    "A game studio that doesn't know what it's doing"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Benefits of employment are the best I've encountered in the games industry, however in my opinion they do not make up for the toxic culture inside the studio.

    - The office itself has recently undergone a refurb. It actually isn't a soulless white office any more.

    Cons

    - The studio is not creatively led at all, and is instead run by a numbers focused 'strategy' team that show no understanding of good game development or seem open to learning. This evolution of a studio is fairly typical (read up about Halfbrick) where, somehow, owners forget the importance of empowered creativity which created success in the first place.

    - The upper management are completely invisible to the staff actually making games. There is no sense of wanting to connect or engage.

    - Projects which are spun up are often outsourced to external studios, then fade off into obscurity and are marred by politics because they aren't supported correctly and there is no clear vision from day one as to what they should be.

    - The studio has not the decency to close a project in a professional and honest manner. Radio silence seems to be their strategy of choice despite the resentment and bad sentiment it cultivates, and the negative effect it has on developers.

    - Morale is the lowest I have ever seen it.

    Advice to Management

    Better engage with your employees. There are a lot of people who believe things can be done better and have ideas for doing so, but do not feel there is a way for them to voice their ideas which will be sensibly considered. We're game developers; our passion should be about trying to create enjoyment and fun but this is getting entirely lost by growing resentment.


  10. Helpful (4)

    "Fun Company, bad management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Cambridge, East of England, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Fun Place to work, Free fruit, benefits. Full Canteen, good equipment. Friendly place to live.

    Cons

    Badly run, People are brought in due to nepotism on ridiculously high salaries and do not deliver. Money goes to Runescape as they are the breadwinner and the other products suffer. Redundancies are not far away when starting at this company.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on the new products. Get a small really good team and create some new ideas.


  11. Helpful (2)

    "Transformation almost complete"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - CEO who knows what he wants and how to get us there

    - Great comms with internal updates via live stream, pay day beers with management in attendance

    - Good office facilities, due to be reinvented with what looks to be an exciting refurbishment

    - Much improved canteen in recent times at reasonable prices

    - Benefits package you just won't get elsewhere, including bonuses, parties, free fruit, gym membership, free health care, free dental...the list goes on

    - Ambition to be a major player in the industry, transformation underway

    - Some of the best talent you could wish to work with

    Cons

    - The changes over the last 18 months to set us up for long term success has been painful for some

    - A small but vocal minority of haters who just don't see how lucky they are, fortunately the number of these is dwindling

    - Can be slow on delivery of projects, typically for good reason but happens to often

    - Doesn't shout enough about the opportunities it offers staff for career progression, huge number of examples of people building careers

    Advice to Management

    - Start to celebrate what's good about the company and don't worry so much about what the haters say

    - Identify deadwood and get rid, don't let it spread and undermine the amazing work you are doing

    - Keep going, deliver on the transformation and those who go along on the journey will be part of something special



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