MZ Employee Reviews about "work life balance"
41% would recommend to a friend
(28 total reviews)
52% approve of CEO
Found 28 of over 316 reviews
Updated Jul 14, 2023
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7 hours ago
Got laid off from my job as a software developer a couple days ago and am looking for new opportunities in the Calgary area/remote. Have 2.5 year of experience and worked with various technologies over that time including React, ReactNative, Typescript, Rails, NodeJS, as well as experience with mobile app development. Would appreciate any advice, positions or opportunities you can recommend/offer.
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Top Review Highlights by Sentiment
Excerpts from user reviews, not authored by Glassdoor
- "Due to all of this there was just a lot of bad management and results that were accepted." (in 21 reviews)
- "No work/life balance" (in 19 reviews)
- "Between politics and careless middle and upper management you can expect your career to take a hit." (in 10 reviews)
- "The clueless and childish managers following the CEO are what one expect from a place like this." (in 9 reviews)
- "Long hours are based on lack of leadership You will be shunned if you don't eat lunch with your team everyday." (in 9 reviews)
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Reviews about "work life balance"Return to all Reviews
- 4.0Oct 4, 2022Anonymous EmployeeCurrent Employee, more than 5 yearsPalo Alto, CA
So you've probably read a few of these reviews and see a bunch of conflicting information. To clarify the information, I've tried to breakdown what the company has been like over the years so you can try to sort the reviews into these more overarching culture buckets. The 'Gabe' Era (Pre-2018): The craziest time for the company. I joined and we were working on Game of War and Mobile Strike was just releasing. The company was making money hand over fist. The culture was bananas. I would work until the last possible train out of Palo Alto and still was one of the first to leave each day on my team. Everything we were working on was going out later that day or the next day. At the worst of it, deployments happened TWICE A DAY with new content for players. Completely absurd but I look back on this time somewhat fondly as working in the trenches did build a bunch of strong bonds that eventually fanned out across the industry that I could tap to find new employment at the drop of a hat. The parties during this time were completely absurd and made the Alcatraz party in Silicon Valley seem quaint. Post-'Gabe' Era (~2018-2020): The Lawyers took over the company ousting the founder because he just couldn't stop talking about blockchain and it freaked out the executives. Belt tightening ensued. This was some completely abysmal years for the company. The direction was poorly thought out and it absolutely showed. People were fired for absurd reasons and it all felt really slimy. Years were spent on games before Game Design was even on the product. Once design was on the product, the game type changed entirely, art directors were fired and replaced, and so much money was spent. Once the product went live, management grew impatient, canned development that was required for the product to work, forced sales that killed the economy and quickly ruined the product. Little did we know the company was buried in bad debt and working on a buyout at the time with Applovin buying MZ. This was the only redeeming factor of this era as all the employees were bailed out of underwater options with lucrative in the money options. It's hard for me to hate the leadership at this time from this windfall alone. Applovin decapitated the leadership which was a godsend. Applovin Era (2020 to now): This has been great. The company has slowed down to the point where methodical steps are taken and there isn't a constant panic being transmitted from above causing short sighted decision making. Work life balance has been tremendously improved with the Applovin acquisition, not to mention reaping the benefits of an IPO, which while tech stocks are down now, the options are still providing lucrative value to employees. The company continues to struggle with lack of innovation although there is some hope on that front. There were layoffs earlier this year (July 2022) which seemed consistent with the industry but they really seemed to have targeted the worst of the toxic super pay to win people at the company which is an interesting sign. ---- General Pros Today: - Good Work/Life balance - Fully Remote - Solid office and cafeteria for people who do want to go into the office - Applovin is a public company (Ticker:APP) so options/RSUs have value, joining now would probably be a good strike price assuming you stick around through the ongoing tech recession. - Smart pleasant coworkers - Very low micromanaging (at least as far as I know for my teams and those around us)
- Uninspiring game production strategy causing a bit of apathy, favors low risk strategy yet still tries to target billion dollar games - Lack of internal people actually playing the games (its hard to inspire people to keep playing city builders, they are pretty demanding). This causes some development to be difficult as different teams are pretty unfamiliar with what they are actually building. - Lingering team structural issues since the layoffs have yet to be corrected.3
- 1.0May 3, 2017Anonymous EmployeeFormer Employee
Good pay and tangible perks - You will get pay above market, you will be nourished as Hansel and Gretel and you will get opportunities to have more if you work insane hours, perform, drink, help, create and distribute the Company Kool-Aid. Ambitious Company and a seducing apparent place in the Sun - A confident promising red-eyed unicorn likely about to explode into Internet Dominion. Growth - This place will push your limits and force you to grow Talented wonderful people - They are plenty. Some Ronins have honor and noble goals for which work is just a means to an end.
And here is my critique: Notice: MZ, just like in all of its practices, is just as aggressive in its recruiting strategy and tactics. As you may notice from the responses and moderation to the reviews, it is actively involved. Untrained moderators (the recruiters, whose team has much turn-over as well) easily let the passive-aggressive defensiveness transpire through the lines out of a somewhat desperate attempt to gain some face by any means necessary. Positive reviews are all strongly encouraged, if not in fact insisted upon by your recruiter, right at the beginning when joining the company at the beginning of the honeymoon. I am of the opinion that without this practice, the overall rating would be way below average, even though it has already decreased by more than a point out of 5 in the last year. You have to give credit to the effort. Purely Mercenary: To make it at MZ, you have to be good at what you do, you have to be tough, you have to be in it for the love of surmounted pain from overcoming challenges that you thought were impossible, and then, your ultimate reward has to be cash - if it’s something else you are looking for, I don’t believe you will find it here. You’re well paid to do a job, do it well, do it hard, execute for as long as you are needed, don’t stir anything, go home home for the shortest period of time possible to recover because you need to and repeat. A ruthless aggressive company - The game model keeps being refined by pure data analysis and is successful because it is a clean cut scientific optimization of prime “house always wins” monetization mechanics. The model has nothing good to offer in terms of gaming experience creativity or art other than mathematically feeding the densest parts of its players’ addictions. MZ is not really a gaming company, the CEO says that himself, so if gaming culture is what you’re after, this is not it. No Soul, no heart, no joy - There is a total absence of articulated kindness or benevolence within the administration of this company; these attributes are seen as weakness. The high demands of the business leave little room for the sense of humor and lightheartedness gaming companies have been known for; the stress drives people to take themselves quite seriously. The meritocracy management claims to aim to create is false and arbitrary, I see it more as compliance. The core values may be sincere but they are in fact frightening, like straight out of a satire of what hardcore tech capitalism has brought Silicon Valley down to. MZ is a sad, cold place to work. My time there and the future vision I saw for this company seemed straight of a bad Orwellian dream. No work/life balance - if you have a family, there is a 100% guarantee your family life will suffer here and you will not get no sympathy for it. As claimed by leadership, that is the current price to play to win. It’s hard to win. He’s had it hard to get where he is. You’re going to have it hard too to keep him there and follow his lead forward. Serious time sacrifices are very much part of the check.72
- 1.0Apr 4, 2022Head of Live OperationsFormer Employee, more than 3 yearsPalo Alto, CA
- Good Perks - Made some good friends
- Horrible hours - No work/life balance - Low pay - No career advancement - Once they know you're exploring opportunities at another company, they will fire you.3
- 2.0Jan 18, 2018Anonymous EmployeeFormer Employee, more than 1 yearPalo Alto, CA
Great benefits, parties Hard working teams
Cameras on you constantly, probably down to keystroke level No work life balance - mandatory 10-7 plus most people commute Driven by fear and inconsistent leadership - C level No long term plan30
- 1.0May 24, 2018Anonymous EmployeeFormer Employee
High Pay (unless you look at it hourly)
Terrible work life balance and even worse managment. There's also a ton of fake reviews on this site. You'll have to go back to March like 9 pages in to get a real sense of what it's like here.40
- 5.0Oct 2, 2015Anonymous EmployeeCurrent Employee
- Great technical challenges - Great culture (on my team at least) - Great leadership
- Work life balance is not competitive on many teams21MZ Response9y
Thank you for the positive feedback. We have worked hard to create an environment where talented people are excited about their work and the Company. We appreciate you taking the time to write a review.
- 1.0Dec 19, 2017Anonymous EmployeeFormer Employee
I would give a 0-star for this company if available, so the only pro is that, 0-star is not available on glassdoor!
I would give a 0-star for this company if available: - It cannot be even called a company or corporation as there's 0 organization, but full of chaos. - The culture is also 0, as the only thing you can see is letting people go with 0 reason. - There's 0 truth in what the recruiters' bluffing. Their only job is to lure you in with 0 ethics. There's 0 work life balance and you're not even appreciated even if you work day and night.33
- 4.0Jan 3, 2016Anonymous EmployeeCurrent Employee, more than 1 year
Highly energetic and exciting. Opportunity to work with the best team in Silicon Valley
Difficult work life balance13MZ Response8y
Thank you for you taking the time to write a review. It is one of our main priorities to make sure we are hiring top talent and we at Machine Zone are proud of all the great employees we have here. These are exciting times for the Company and we do have a fast paced culture but we work hard to ensure our employees are recognized and appreciated for all their hard work.
- 1.0May 18, 2017Anonymous EmployeeFormer Employee
Great benefits Endless amounts of food (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and drinks Building relationships
Management Lack of communication between management and colleagues No work life balance Cliquey Untrustworthy people59
- 1.0Jan 11, 2016Senior Software EngineerFormer Employee, more than 1 yearPalo Alto, CA
Super intelligent people People work hard and won't stop until the mission is accomplished People execute better than any other company I've ever worked at
No work life balance Little recognition and if there is recognition, it is poorly provided and not well received The culture is very execution driven. You gain the sense from leadership that your job is always on the line. It isn't a fun and positive place to be, but more like a sweat shop. Would never recommend this place to work at if you have a ton of working experience in the valley. This place is for young people that have no idea what a positive working environment is, what work-life balance is, or what it means to feel good about your job.111MZ Response8y
Thank you taking the time to provide your feedback about your experience here at Machine Zone. We are glad that you agree that Machine Zone has incredibly bright and motivated employees, and while the fast-paced culture of Machine Zone is not a good fit for everyone, this is a very busy time for the Company as we are experiencing tremendous growth. We believe that most of our employees love the excitement and pace of Machine Zone and view it as a positive culture. It is very important to Machine Zone and our leadership team to create a culture where our employees are recognized and appreciated for all their hard work. We are sorry that you were not a good fit for the company and wish you luck on your next opportunity.