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NCSOFT Reviews

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NCSOFT CEO Songyee Yoon
Songyee Yoon
3 Ratings

24 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Good company, work/life balance depends on which division you are in, the facilities and perks that the company offers are very competitive (in 6 reviews)

  • Great team of people in the office (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Terrible relationship and communication with the Korean HQ (in 4 reviews)

  • No leadership, complete chaos caused by the HQ and the lack of professionalism in the Seattle office (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (10)

    "Poor Work/Life Balance and Horrible Politics"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Interactive Designer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Interactive Designer in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at NCSOFT (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good office location before they moved (NCSoft Seattle).

    Good experience, my first opportunity to work on a large profile product.

    Cons

    Lots, and I mean LOTS of infighting. Constant drama. Managers will pit people against each other often. You would get thrown under the bus often.

    No work/life balance. Thank god I was contracting so I was under no obligation to stay, but I would be leaving at 5:00PM and my manager would chase me down to ask where I was going and if I could stay for a few more hours. There were no real hard deadlines or justification for staying later. Traditional Korean work culture dictates that if you don't work until late at night every day you're not a valuable employee. They also took extreme advantage of the fact that there are a lot of inexperienced professionals eager to work in the video game industry, so it wasn't uncommon to see people stay till midnight just because they were expected to.

    From a design perspective, there was relatively no room for creative ownership. All decisions were micromanaged from Korea and Japan, which also created a really bad communication gap and you would have to wait on important answers. Many times my designs were taken and then remade almost 1:1 from their Japanese design team and then presented as their own. Pretty frustrating.

    Overall from my observations, people just weren't very happy. I did make a few great friends there, but otherwise their studio had a lot of jaded employees with really bad attitudes due to mistreatment and that became systemic.


  2. Helpful (10)

    "Very poor work life balance, horrible environment for the employees."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at NCSOFT full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    There are some amazing people to work with at NCSOFT. Working in a gaming industry can be a gateway to other, better game companies. Excellent Insurance.

    Cons

    Most teams are expected to work 50-60 hours a week. (Salary)

    Less than zero work life balance. You are expected to be at the beck and call of HQ (Korea) and anyone who has a need or whim no matter the day or hour. Out to dinner with your family? Better cut it short and head home to gather some logs. Request approved for Vacation for your birthday? Better cancel that and come in to work for 12 hours. On Vacation? Sorry, there is a ticket we forgot to mention to you until you were already out of the state. You better log in and get to work. Relaxing on a Friday night after a 60 hour week? Well here is a request for 6+ hours of work so some other poor sods can work all weekend. Better get to work.

    Well surely the pay makes up for it you say? Nope. In your reviews they will point out that one time you were unavailable for 30 minutes while in transit on your vacation... Also you were less than chipper when you were called for a few "questions" at 2am. No Raise. Great Bonus Structure... if you are a C-Level exec. Otherwise the general day-to-day workers never see a penny of those great bonuses.

    The higher ups might ask for your opinion on technical matters... but then will likely ignore them. Also HQ generally dictates how you should do your job, even if it is rarely considered "best practice".

    Save yourself the stress, trouble, and headaches... work somewhere else.

    Advice to Management

    Hire more people, then treat them like people instead of resources. People need time to unwind and see their families. Say "No" a little more often to ridiculous requests from HQ. Follow some best business practices, not just say you do.


  3. "Management Needs Facelift"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Aliso Viejo, CA
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Aliso Viejo, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at NCSOFT as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I worked with a great team and was paid well.

    Cons

    Management communication was terrible. Marketing was absolutely horrible and didn't bother studying the game to properly promote it. The office didn't care about keeping the kitchen stocked with snacks and food and usually our team had to buy our own food out of pocket. We weren't provided the tools we needed to complete our jobs. When my contract ended and others were chosen to stay on, my supervisor couldn't even tell me in person. He danced around the idea when he had me in person and didn't give me an official answer, and then emailed me a day later letting me know—almost as bad as breaking up via text. Despite all of this, still left on good terms because I had fun and didn't have to deal with most of the politics my boss had to deal with.

    Advice to Management

    Learn to communicate effectively.


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  5. "Garbage Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Technical Support in Austin, TX
    Former Contractor - Technical Support in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at NCSOFT as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    They pay ontime.
    There was overtime.
    You got full hour lunches.

    Cons

    While this is by no means the worst job I've had, the poor leadership made working here unbearable. The team leads would just chitchat with other employees in the middle of the cubicles about personal issues while I was trying to work on tickets and on the phone. When I made a comment about it, I not only got in trouble with the lead but his manager too.

    They also forced us to work Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day and they didn't pay us extra.

    Also apparently our team didn't go any shift differential for graveyards despite others getting it.

    Don't bother.


  6. "Don't Plan on Making a Career Here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Localizer in Aliso Viejo, CA
    Former Contractor - Localizer in Aliso Viejo, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at NCSOFT as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Fellow contractors were talented individuals that made the experience manageable.

    The full time employee that oversaw us did their best to manage the team while navigating the daily insanity of company politics and inane requests.

    Cons

    Management is virtually nonexistent and when someone does claim to be lead on something, they seem to have little to no understanding of the project itself.

    Leadership out of Korea is paranoid about their Western division's activity.

    Korea will not grant the Western offices access to tools that make localization possible.

    NCSoft is a family business and operates like one. Most design leads do not earn their position through professional means.

    Advice to Management

    Allow the Western division of localization to operate without needing permission from Korea for every move they make.

    Establish a firm hierarchy. I rarely knew who was in charge of what, or even who my own superior was half the time.

    Recognize and keep your valuable employees. Most of the talented, passionate employees NCSoft had managed to hire would leave midway through a project for a company that respected them and paid them more.

    Recognize and fire the employees that actively hinder a project for their own advancement.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Lack of emphasis on employees"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at NCSOFT full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    There is a priority on high game quality. If you like online games, it's fun to work on them.

    Cons

    There is a cultural divide from Korean headquarters and the western territories. This creates problems.

    Advice to Management

    Hire leaders for each region who can relate to each culture.


  8. Helpful (8)

    "Golden Past, Trying Present, Murky Future"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Database Administrator in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Senior Database Administrator in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at NCSOFT full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    In the golden years, NCsoft (Austin/West) was a great place for opportunity and learning. A remarkable amount of autonomy, trust, and collaboration made working for NCsoft (Operations) a great place. I loved working my job and working with my coworkers, many of which with skills and levels of talent I have yet to see since my departure.

    Cons

    Since at least 2010, the company has suffered terrible set backs caused by strange and arbitrary power struggles between the parent company (Seoul, Korea) and the West (former Seattle HQ/ Austin Operations). This led to competing visions and conflicting interests. The restructuring resulting from the power struggle led first to a massive and unprecedented Operations RIF, and second, a mass exodus of what was left of the remaining talent. Since my departure, RIFs have occurred for several other departments accompanied by closing of Seattle HQ and ancillary offices.

    Advice to Management

    "People leave managers, not companies." - While this seems to typically be the case, for NCsoft it wasn't. I left. People left, because the company just lost it's soul in trying to accomplish whatever it was trying to accomplish. Therein lies the problem: there were plenty of actions but no clear understanding of what the end-game was.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Producer"

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

    Pros

    The people were great until layoffs occurred.

    Cons

    Layoffs took out most of the good people. Procedures and policies bog everything down.


  10. Helpful (6)

    "Subsidiary wrought with demands from Seoul HQ"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Brand Manager in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Brand Manager in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at NCSOFT full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Cool former location downtown, and nice co-workers. Parking subsidy was nice since downtown parking is so expensive.

    Cons

    With so much distrust from HQ in Seoul, there was a rotating set of leaders and constant last minute direction changes from afar. It wasn't uncommon to see someone escorted out by security on a monthly basis per regular layoffs.

    Advice to Management

    Stop micro-managing and let those with expertise in the local market run the show.


  11. Helpful (6)

    "Slowest Sinking Ship In The Game Industry"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Expendable in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Expendable in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at NCSOFT full-time

    Pros

    Not many. The benefits are one of the few good reasons to work here. If a new Austin company were looking to staff quickly, I would suggest head hunting from their Team Leads and below. There is an abundance of good people who know how to work hard but have had to work under flaccid management, poor support systems, and the general feeling that their positions were always expendable.

    Cons

    There has been a lack of competent western leadership.
    Terrible relationship and communication with the Korean HQ.
    I would not advise applying to the Austin location for any position.
    If the next product to launch fails, I don't see a future for the company beyond ArenaNet.

    Advice to Management

    If you want to be a AAA publisher, be a publisher. Since ArenaNet came on board, NCsoft has been a punching bag for the studios instead.
    Once a product launches, invest in continued product development and customer support.
    Encourage and invest in internal developmental training/education for for all employees, especially those in customer support roles.
    And just sunset Aion and Lineage 2 already. Free to Play is a stop gap measure for mediocre or underperforming titles.


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