NCSOFT "korea" Reviews | Glassdoor

NCSOFT Employee Reviews about "korea"

Updated Mar 28, 2019

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3.2
54%
Recommend to a Friend
47%
Approve of CEO
NCSOFT CEO Songyee Yoon
Songyee Yoon
48 Ratings
Pros
  • "The specific studio I am/was at had an incredible office culture, and a really admirable adherence to keeping a healthy work/life balance(in 10 reviews)

  • "In the golden years, NCsoft (Austin/West) was a great place for opportunity and learning(in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • "Beholden to the South Korea office for all major decisions, from corporate to game teams(in 20 reviews)

  • "Management completely and utterly incompetent with no understanding of the western games market(in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "korea"

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Paragon Studios was fantastic"

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

    I worked at NCSOFT full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Paragon had some of the best people I've worked with, a fantastic game in City of Heroes, paid well, and let us do the job we needed to do. Very collaborative place. It also had excellent work-life balance.

    Cons

    Too much interference from HQ in Korea, too much difficulty in getting a new project off the ground.

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    NCSOFT2014-05-02
  2. Helpful (8)

    "Poor Executive Leadership"

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

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

    Pros

    • Every team had a lot of ambition, promise, and talent. • Ability to work on known market brands and new IPs. • Large corporate resources available (when they chose to use them). • Health insurance was top notch, as confirmed by numerous doctor offices. • Pay was competitive for the area.

    Cons

    • Lack of capable executive leadership. The CEO has no accountability, along with her SVP teams. • Little executive planning, all lip-service with high level goals but no road-map or plan on how to get there other than, "Make lots of money!" • Beholden to the South Korea office for all major decisions, from corporate to game teams. No ability to make real change. • Problematic product pipeline -- no large, successful MMORPGs released since BnS (which was an older game from KR to begin with) and rocky mobile releases. • Work-Life balance is horrible, especially when nearing crunch times. Not helped by the Operations department always running too lean, whether in regards to System Admins or QA staff (scheduling emergency patches/investigations always has a huge human cost).

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    NCSOFT2019-03-28
  3. Helpful (5)

    "Really good at giving you a ton of rope to hang yourself with."

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

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

    Pros

    * Little intervention from the HQ in South Korea meant we enjoyed a surprising amount of freedom and agency in making our game. * Pay was barely competitive with the rest of the SF market * Benefits were good * The specific studio I am/was at had an incredible office culture, and a really admirable adherence to keeping a healthy work/life balance. We're getting shut down, though, so I don't know what surviving studios are like.

    Cons

    * All that freedom I mentioned came at the cost of upper brass decision making feeling really distant and opaque culminating in our studio getting canned just when we thought we were about to launch with a (hopefully) successful game. This whole experience gave me the impression that HQ is pretty clueless about how to manage their western studios. * Rev share was promised (more like dangled at the end of a stick) and now is just moot because we (the studio that made the game) aren't going to be around when the game finally launches.

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    NCSOFT2019-02-27
  4. Helpful (8)

    "Steer Clear"

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

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

    Pros

    Some genuinely great people attempting to make this a functional and rewarding workplace and (before Carbine was closed) make some compelling new games. Competitive-to-high base compensation. Some 'modern tech company' type bonuses like weekly donuts/fruit, company outings, holiday parties, etc. etc. Contract to publish Harmonix' next game could hold some compelling new opportunities for success. Ability to put in minimal effort and make a decent paycheck.

    Cons

    The running joke, which may not actually be a joke, is that NCsoft (U.S.) is run at a loss purposely to avoid taxation of the money sent over by the profitable Korean company. It's the only plausible explanation for the bizarre and at times schizophrenic decisions, questions, and demands that are made. Execs are out to lunch. The primary executives running the company don't have a clear direction or intent for the company. They let clear profit drivers go or take on clear profit-losing projects. Or they read a Newsweek article about Fortnight and then ask why our games don't make billions of dollars. Seriously. Wholly owned subsidiary = licensee nobodies. The entire NCsoft game publishing division are treated like drones. There's little-to-no agency, no chance to improve products, and very little allowed to help adapt products to their market. From what I'm told games are essentially changed only so much as to avoid outright negative backlash, but that's all. There are no developers in the U.S. offices that touch any PC titles, so we just put out whatever they give to us. Although NCsoft in the US is a part of the NCsoft company in Korea, it might as well be a third party licensee. Lack of passion/desire for excellence. If the executive leadership communicates with the employees (which is rare) it doesn't provide any framework for how to be successful, and it sends a signal of being ok with mediocrity. Stringing people along. The CEO of NCsoft U.S. (the wife of the CEO for the Korean HQ) will send an email once every few months with generic platitudes on how they're working to make things better, or how our employee survey results are being taken seriously, but of what little substance those emails have or plans to improve things have all been empty promises. HR projects are stopped after months of development, manager training programs are shelved, and small little blips that give anyone hope that things might actually be improving are just one-time blips or never materialize at all. "Never Ending Change" is one of the core company philosophies. It's also a running joke because it's obviously a bad translation from Korean, but it's a "funny but true" statement. This is a company that doesn't know what it's doing, so it constantly changes hoping it'll find a combination that works. Or maybe it doesn't want to find one! (see Con #1) 401k matching is a joke. They put in a percentage of what you contribute, and don't match your full contribution. The two other studios I've worked at matched up to a percentage (3-4%) of your total pay, here they match a percentage of the percentage you put in. It was funny to get emails celebrating how they raised contribution matching up to 6% of what you've contributed! So if you divert say 1% of your take home which ends up being $100 from each paycheck, they'll put in $6. They don't even match your 1%. It's a percentage of a percentage. Puzzle-piece company. Some leadership is in Austin, some in OC, some in Seattle, some in San Francisco, etc. This is from years of the company moving their HQ from state to state (curious if those moves match with changing state tax laws...) meaning that there's leadership spread all over the country. That leaves entire departments with no direct leadership in their office, and even less of a reason to perform positively in their roles. It's a Korean company. This might be a Pro if you're Korean or used to it, but if you're from the U.S. and are used to working in U.S. studios this can be a big shock. Koreans run businesses very differently, and in my experience it leads to a lack of clarity or direction. Title and hierarchy are everything. If you don't have a specific job title there are levels of people that won't even speak with you. Koreans don't say "no", it's considered rude, so communication issues are constant and can lead to months of wasted time and effort. Saving face (chaemyeon) is everything. Many conversations are "pretend" because they are being polite or saving face. What you do is not as important as what you appear to be doing. Lack of direction for game production. A CDO was brought in to help right the ship in relation to Carbine and the San Mateo mobile studio, but the result was Carbine was closed, we were all let go, and San Mateo still hasn't actually launched a mobile title after 3+ years. The smart people there have already left or are leaving real soon. I think most employees are hoping for a success, but no one expects one because no one has clear direction of how to achieve one.

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    NCSOFT2018-10-31
  5. Helpful (19)

    "Most dysfunctional game company in the industry"

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

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

    Pros

    Knowledgeable co-workers Good benefits Flexible working hours Competitive salary Get to work in the game industry

    Cons

    Awful leadership. 3 words can describe it: JUST PLAIN AWFUL The CEO surrounds herself with Yes-Men and never emerges from her Ivory Tower. Management will routinely lie to you HR will force managers to "re-calibrate down" employee reviews during the annual performance review period because "there are too many 4's and 5's" The bonus program is horrible. It's quite laughable. The CEO lives within her own echo chamber The products are all old, live MMO games with no roadmap schedule for new, cutting edge releases. Korea runs the show; you will do and implement what they tell you to do. To make matters worse, most of the best Koreans at HQ have left the company already, so you are left with the fodder. Work isn't particularly challenging, so there's lots of time to goof off, watch Netflix, or play other people's games. The mobile team in San Mateo is beyond horrible. They are going on 4 years now and have never released even 1 mobile game.

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    NCSOFT2018-09-19
  6. Helpful (8)

    "Honest Review"

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

    I worked at NCSOFT full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good Salary Little Crunch No weekends, at least while I was there

    Cons

    Studio management has very little power/control over what they make. Every thing has to be approved by Korea which making the Studio heads more like middle management. One of the worst annually review systems I have ever seen in a company. Everything is subjective without guidelines to be judged against. No Free Snacks Get the feeling the NCSOFT does not trust their studios and things go from very good one minute to very bad the next. Not transparent at all. NCSOFT likes to tell the studios one thing and then do another based off of knee jerk reactions. Very hard to plan long term because the studios are always in a "reaction" mode when feedback come back from Korea. Financially motivated company that wants to follow instead of lead.

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    NCSOFT2018-10-05
  7. Helpful (18)

    "Complete and utter lack of Management"

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

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

    Pros

    - Competitive Pay - Subsidized gym membership

    Cons

    - They spent YEARS making MXM (an ill advised foray in to the MOBA market that is dominated by LOL / DOTA) and then cancelled it with a few months because it was doing so bad - They've been dumping millions in to a mobile studio that still hasn't shipped a game in 4 years - They closed Carbine after stringing them along for two years, giving them zero direction on what type of game they'd like for them to develop. - They cancelled BnS console because they were incapable of communicating their needs to the contracted company - NCWest management exists because of nepotism from NCSoft Korea

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    NCSOFT2018-09-23
  8. Helpful (11)

    "Working under NCSoft HQ (Korea) is soul-crushing"

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

    I have been working at NCSOFT full-time

    Pros

    It's very easy and you don't really have to do much.

    Cons

    Korea does not listen to NCWest pretty much at all. NCWest typically doesn't stand up to Korea's terrible decision making. People in the office are pretty jaded at this point. Pretty much everything players think about NCKorea is absolutely true.

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    NCSOFT2017-09-06
  9. Helpful (13)

    "Poor Work/Life Balance and Horrible Politics"

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

    I worked at NCSOFT for 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.

    NCSOFT2016-05-20
  10. Helpful (10)

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

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

    I worked at NCSOFT full-time for 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.

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    NCSOFT2016-02-08

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