KIXEYE "culture of fear" Reviews | Glassdoor

KIXEYE Employee Reviews about "culture of fear"

Updated Jul 28, 2017

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3.8
73%
Recommend to a Friend
100%
Approve of CEO
KIXEYE President  Clayton Stark (no image)
Clayton Stark
5 Ratings
Pros
  • "I love the catered lunches (good restaurant choices) and the facilities are pretty nice(in 14 reviews)

  • "The perks similar to many other companies (Food, Gym, unlimited PTO)(in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • "There's a "culture of fear" that I'd heard about since I got there but never experienced myself(in 17 reviews)

  • "chaotic upper management style, lower salary(in 8 reviews)

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Reviews about "culture of fear"

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  1. "Hard work. Rewarding"

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

    I have been working at KIXEYE full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Smart people Good games Great office Perks: free food, gym, "unlimited" vacation This is only my second job since graduating from college, but I certainly like it a lot more than my last. I'd say the culture is kind of made for me - pretty much everyone shares my sense of humor, which is weird. The games that they were already making brought me here, but the game I'm working on is making me stay. I can see myself here for a really long time.

    Cons

    Long hours Can be aggressive at times A lot of new faces I've heard a few co-workers talk about a "culture of fear". I'm slightly on the fence about it because I think there should be a bit of fear around missing dates and schedules. Honestly, I think the people that complain about that want a safer work environment and are better suited to a larger, slower moving company or maybe a position that isn't as critical to product delivery.

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    KIXEYE2012-09-18
  2. "Trying to find their way"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor 
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at KIXEYE for more than a year

    Pros

    Lots of great co-workers; wide variety of tech experiences and opportunities; lots of opportunities to learn new skills OTJ. Decent amount of autonomy. Decent life/work balance, respect for employees. Pay is good.

    Cons

    Company is shifting from F2P Facebook based games to mobile and other F2P platforms, and has had a number of false starts in the process. Management is trying to find its way in the new business model. Several reorgs in the past 2 yrs, with layoffs. This affected morale of many employees. CEO is a self-described sociopath. There's a "culture of fear" that I'd heard about since I got there but never experienced myself. Still, perception is reality.

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    KIXEYE2015-10-17
  3. Helpful (4)

    "Stepping Stone"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at KIXEYE

    Pros

    Good salary and benefits. Lots of people to meet. Nice views. Paintball.

    Cons

    Terrible open office, high turnover, culture of fear.

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    KIXEYE2015-09-28
  4. Helpful (3)

    "Company has attitude both good and bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at KIXEYE for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Real attempts at good to great perks. This can be on autopilot sometimes, but a fond memory is when a company email chain turned into a delivery of Dynamo Donuts for all.

    Cons

    If you want growth in your position, best of luck. Not much is established in terms of a program. It will be a fight, and all on you, no guidance or much support. Refer to all previous reviews about culture of fear and menace.

    KIXEYE2015-08-27
  5. Helpful (9)

    "Terrible"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at KIXEYE full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - nice offices downtown - catered lunch two times a week - good benefits - a few smart people - allows input into the tech stack

    Cons

    - Highly political at the expense of the company - Poor management across the board - Underhanded tactics by the executive team and management - Culture of fear/no transparency - Management positions filled by incompetents (nepotism rampant) - Poor product vision - No ability to stick to deadlines - Failure to invest in or ship viable products - Entitled attitude towards partners - Employees were lured in with bonus promises and lied to about their payouts. - Opportunities for advancement and promotion are slim. - Collaboration across teams is non-existent

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    KIXEYE2015-04-29
  6. Helpful (11)

    "Zombie Studio"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - UI Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at KIXEYE full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Generous PTO(I think I took about a month and a half off my last year there}, decent pay, pretty good benefits, free lunches a couple times a week (usually with good food), well stocked snacks and drinks, convenient downtown SF location(about 2 blocks from BART), they made the big Facebook hits, Battle Prirates, War Commander and Back Yard Monsters. Kixeye isn't that bad of a place to work.. You can show up whenever you want most of the time. Leave whenever you want most of the time. You can work from home most of the time - I know people that would 'work from home' for weeks at at time and it was totally fine. They usually take you out once a quarter and show you the latest movie at IMAX or will throw some sort of party.. They have a paintball day where you can go and shoot up all the people you don't like. I usually just 'WFH' that day even though it's mandatory that you go. You can draw whatever you want on the walls like a picture of a dragon or a elf or some crazy monster. There's a super nice coffee machine up in the kitchen that makes great espresso shots. Super good. Most of the time - good enough is OK. People don't know or just don't care. There's usually never much stress, unless you personally stress yourself out. There's always more time to do stuff cause the Facebook games do well enough. They got some pretty sweet game rooms with xbox 360's, ps3's, DDR machines, rock band(with like everything). They also have street fighter 2, gauntlet, big buck hunter and most importantly GOLDEN AXE. There's also NBA Jam (not as cool). They have a whole lot of N.E.R.F. guns all over the place and a life size Jenga!!! Don't know if this is really a pro, but....

    Cons

    Facilities - • Open pit environment that is crowded, smelly and dirty. People don't care about their spaces and it shows. If you ask for a tour on your interview, which you should, they will say probably say no. • Desks are small. In most cases you have 4-6 feet between you and the next person. • Lack of common space for meetings - that may have changed due to recent layoffs. • Teams are spread out over 3 floors which isn't necessarily bad unless you are part of a shared group and have to service multiple teams. • Layout of floors makes it confusing and hard to get where you need to be quickly, resulting is a lot of 'where am I' • Walls have dry erase paint that you can write on. Rarely does this get a thorough cleaning. Most of the writing is weird obscure meme's, not much work related stuff. • Kitchens/Bathrooms are usually pretty disgusting by Noon. • There is an armed guard that checks people in if you show up for a tour/interview/to see a friend/what have you. Super nice guy, but c'mon - armed guard at a game studio? Management - • Inexperienced - AFAIK, The founders and CEO didn't hold a job in games until they started Kixeye(could be good or bad I suppose). Well intentioned and smart guys, but not real seasoned developers. Systems designers and product guys would be more of what they are. Most of the upper tier guys typically haven't held a hands on position in years. • Lacks vision - Little understanding of trends that are shaping the future of the games industry. The latest 'thing' is making money - lets make that. • Petty/unprofessional - Doesn't believe in a rising tide lifts all boats. Quick to criticize/demean other studios(the competition). • Constantly shifting the goal line - doesn't understand scope of work, comes up with date, realizes scope is larger, pushes date. • In-decisive(related to above) - Management asks employee for advice on problem, employee recommends XYZ, management decides ABC, 6 months later, ABC doesn't work, lets do XYZ. Also employee doesn't get credit for XYZ. • Game of Thrones political environment - everyone is so scared to do the wrong thing that this weird mind game is played, where everyone is constantly aligning themselves to make sure they don't get fired. • Focused on money - not to say this is bad, but they aren't transparent about it which creates this odd feeling in the studio where they say "all we want to do is make great games" publicly, but then their actions indicate the opposite. • Doesn't let employee do job they were hired to do - No trust of teams. CEO would often come down and 'direct' game teams over their shoulders and the decision was final. Resulted in a lot of waste/bad feature design. Games - • What games? :) But seriously, unless you aren't actively looking for work there or have worked there, name me one of their games? Or if I told you one of their games, would you immediately know it? • Antiquated - Most of there games/models had their high water mark long ago. • Standard 'build and battle' type games. Free for about the first 10 levels or so and then you have to start waiting or pay to speed up through a rather dated mechanic. • Boring - this is a bit more subjective, but the games are quite boring. The web games are easily games you can ignore while you do something else on the web waiting for stuff and the mobile titles are pretty standard 'waiting in line somewhere/on the toilet' kinda games. • Games as products - Monetize, ARPU, DAU, MARPU, ROI, Pay Rate, Retention, Conversion, CPI... blah, blah, blah, blah. Product people run the place and many times their not coming from games and don't understand how they work. Culture - • Studio values on the wall behind the armed guard - Passion over profit, innovation over imitation, Quality over quantity. It's like a 3rd grader came up with these values. • Very much a culture of 'fear'. People get promoted and they change. Where they were once approachable and honest, they become very corporate and rigid. • Clique-y and petty. Typcially, you'll get hired to work on one team/game and that game fails/get suspended and you're moved to work on a team you weren't hired by. I worked on 5 different game teams while I was there and didn't make many friends cause I was always the 'new guy'. • Dishonest and untrustworthy - You never know what's truth and lies. The quarterly surveys are there so they know how to message the 'resources'(people). • Half grandma's boy, half corporate startup. It's just generally an unpro environment - this is just me, but I like to come in and try to be heads down. Sure having fun is always nice, but there's usually a crowd of people who think it's all nerf guns, nerd talk and playing games all day. Kixeye seems to attract more than normal of these types.

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    KIXEYE2015-02-28
  7. Helpful (16)

    "Don't believe the hype"

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

    I worked at KIXEYE full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Catered meals twice a week - Arcade in the lobby - Nice office space

    Cons

    - Management focuses on looking cool vs making employees better workers - Culture of fear - IT severely understaffed and since it's a tech company, that impedes work

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    KIXEYE2015-03-10
  8. Helpful (24)

    "Welcome to Hell"

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

    I have been working at KIXEYE full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    * Good drinks (pretty much everything) * Beautiful views from the office * Very close to BART * Lots of swag...

    Cons

    * Kixeye does not know how to make games. They got lucky with a couple clones early on, but since then have not figured out how to make anything even partially original, fun, or lucrative. * The executive team is very arrogant, and spread a culture of fear and intimidation. * There is no movement-- i.e. you will have an extremely hard time getting promoted. Attrition is much higher than anywhere I've ever worked, so when you prove yourself to one manager, chances are he will be fired and you will need to start over. * The engineering team is subpar. There are very few talented engineers there, and the least talented seem to be in leadership. * The culture is excessively juvenile. Basically a frat house. I can't even imaging being a woman in that kind of environment. * I have worked here for over three years, hundreds of engineers, yet only 1 female engineer. * Compensation is kindof a joke. Stock options aren't really a thing. They lure people in with the promise of bonuses but haven't actually paid bonuses out in years.

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    KIXEYE2015-01-23
  9. Helpful (8)

    "So many talented people, being led by a very poor leadership team"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at KIXEYE

    Pros

    The people i work with are amazing. talented. passionate.

    Cons

    Very poor leadership. Feels like chaos. CEO thinks he is steve jobs reborn. CEO drives a culture of fear.

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    KIXEYE2014-08-26
  10. Helpful (3)

    "Takes a special personality to work here"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at KIXEYE full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I feel trusted here to make game and business impacting decisions. I feel like I'm treated like an adult. LGBT friendly Truly unlimited PTO/sick leave. People have taken month long vacations and have come back more recharged than ever. Compensation is highly competitive. Kixeye is the first company I've ever worked at I got raises within six months of starting out. You need to demonstrate what you bring to the company. No one will just hand out a raise.

    Cons

    Culture of fear is still very real here. Not everyone is cut out for the high stress environment at Kixeye. You need a Type A+ personality to work here. High turnover impacts game teams. Management is reluctant to fill much needed open positions. Management doesn't understand opportunity cost. Those unfilled positions cost a lot of time and stress on the rest of the team. Software gets written internally when commercial off the shelf solutions would of saved time and total expense. Game studios business model - game teams are fighting each other and having competition over resources when we should all be wanting the same goals. No support for professional development such as attending non-local conferences. They do have a couple of team passes for GDC you can share.

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    KIXEYE2014-08-10

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