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Pocket Gems Reviews

Updated February 1, 2018
47 reviews

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3.8
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Pocket Gems CEO Ben Liu
Ben Liu
36 Ratings

47 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • people are nice, environment is good (in 4 reviews)

  • Lots of happy hours and team events, a fun place to work on the whole (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • Extremely fast paced business; constant change (in 3 reviews)

  • You do work very hard (but you do learn a lot) (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (2)

    "The best place I've ever worked..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Nice people! Company skews toward the younger side, but the people are still super nice and very enthusiastic about games. Lots of opportunities and challenges. You will learn a lot and have a ton of responsibilities. Great perks. No strict hours and face time isn't valued as highly as many places. Very tolerant of different personality types. Tolerant of mistakes as long as you learn from them.

    Cons

    You do work very hard (but you do learn a lot). The company isn't always run as well as you'd like, but it's small. Training is mostly by fire. Pay is lower than more opportunities out there, but the responsibility you get is pretty amazing. Career progression can vary dramatically and stalls for some while accelerates for others.

    Advice to Management

    Consistency from management would be appreciated. I left, but love the place. Please keep the door open.


  2. "intern software engieer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    the environment is so great

    Cons

    the oa is so difficult

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Frustrating"

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

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

    Pros

    Lots of really great people to work with. The games are exciting and fun to work on.

    Cons

    HR and management team are not helpful. Compensation not in line with the rest of the industry. They claim to have a flat org but act the exact opposite.

    Advice to Management

    Obey your own rules.


  4. "A once great company being crushed by bean counters"

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

    I have been working at Pocket Gems full-time

    Pros

    At the peak of this company it was a powerhouse of creative talent where individuals could make an impact through the flat organization. The coworkers were amazing and we had the freedom to do great work.

    Cons

    Sadly, Finance was allowed to take over most aspects of the company and we chase dollars now. For whatever reason Finance has been given ownership of many departments across the company. Star players have been leaving the company from every department. We have had a rotating door inside many of the people departments, which Finance also owns. The culture has been taking a pretty negative path and it is clear the people departments are not enabled to fix this. If I wanted to work at a company that just focuses on money and ignores a growing toxic culture, I would go do the company who's name rhymes with Tuber.

    Advice to Management

    The advice has been given to management so many times through the routine surveys. Management has shown no interest in addressing the feedback outside of corporate language in our monthly meetings. I used to have hope that this would change, but it has only grown worse over the years.


  5. "A company in transition"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    People and perks are good. The space is well-appointed. The food is solid. The professional development--when it's good--is very good.

    Cons

    When attention to professional development is lax, it tends to stay that way. You need to stay on top of current projects and assignments or you WILL get left behind.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Lots of fun, but also a real company!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Pocket Gems full-time

    Pros

    Pocket Gems does a great job balancing being a fun place to work (you make video games for a living!) with still being a real company - they generally care about and invest in employee training and growth, have real reporting structures and an organizational layout that makes sense, and offer competitive salaries and benefits. A great place to work if you want to love what you do, but not have to deal with bad management or poor organization to do it.

    Cons

    As trite as "work hard, play hard" sounds, Pocket Gems is a pretty demanding place to work. The work can be super rewarding, and for me it was a huge chance to learn and grow in my career, but it was also a pretty consuming experience.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "PG"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

    I have been working at Pocket Gems full-time

    Pros

    Great place to work. Lots of responsibility and opportunity to grow

    Cons

    Extremely fast paced business; constant change

  8. Helpful (5)

    "Hard but rewarding work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

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

    Pros

    Pocket Gems is a place filled with exceptionally smart and dedicated people. You will get to work with incredible artists, engineers, designers, and PMs and there is a ton to learn from simply working through projects with these people. And you get to work on products that are played by millions of people. The perks are in line with what you expect from most startups - onsite lunch/dinner, decent 401k options, personal development opportunities (GDC, learning reimbursements), and a monthly budget to expense toward playing games. Culturally, the people are genuine, and care a lot, and there is very little politics compared to other places I've worked at or heard of. The management genuinely seems interested in building a long lasting company, and so do many of the employees.

    Cons

    It's a hard working place. Hours can be longer when it's crunch time, and while the company has made strides in decreasing how often this happens, it's a reality of startups. It's also a hit driven business, and while Pocket Gems has been managed well and has plenty of cash, it can be draining to deal with the ups and downs. Another area of improvement is more clarity on career progression and levels across all functions - this is happening but it still needs work. Like most startups, people management and career development needs to catch up as the company grows. Despite all of this, it's a place where working hard can be very rewarding, and if you want to work on entertainment products, it is very hard to beat.


  9. Helpful (15)

    "Cool office....but very Clicky"

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

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

    Pros

    Good company to work for, they try to take care of their employees. Lunchs are provided and it's a cool working enviroment (office wise). The CEO seems like he's got his head on right and the company is growing like crazy.

    Cons

    It is definitely a millenial run place. The groups are very clicky and trying to fit in can be a challenge for "older styled" workers. And the office is not definitely geared toward workers with families.

    The pay is much lower than market. But they try to make it up with other amenities.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "If you want to make mobile games - not bad. Else better options exist."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Pocket Gems (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great work culture. Employees don't get numerically scored on their reviews in lieu of detailed write ups that managers take a lot of time to craft.

    Great talent around you. That's undeniable, people do leave as I have done, but maybe that's just par for the valley.

    Cool Office - great parties , fun to come to work - no doubts there.

    While the CEO is a bit of a dial tone, he seems like a nice enough guy, though I only ever talked to him about sports.

    Great friendships, my two years here were really impactful.

    You can learn A LOT here, but you may have to leave to progress.

    Plenty of Ramen in the kitchen!

    Company even Stocks Yakult on request!

    A lot of lowly employees have come here and moved on to big success at Companies like google and facebook. So even if it's not forever it's not a bad springboard elsewhere provided you can avoid being undertitled.

    Cons

    Company only recently started actually changing job titles to align with what people actually do. Even then it's pretty bad. There are employees that have left that were essentially in a completely different functional unit than their title would suggest.

    Talented people seem to leave, might be normal for the valley but its hard to see your super talented team leave all around you.

    Salary is below market but pretty much on par for games. If you're only in it for the money - there are a lot of reasons to be elsewhere.

    Some senior employees rest on their laurels, some seem completely checked out. There is at least one senior level employee that I'm not sure I've ever even seen in the office.

    Different standard for different employees. I saw this play out repeatedly when I was there. PM's and Developers can do whatever they want with nothing but a slap on the wrist. Other classes of employees get come down on much harder.

    Advice to Management

    Just a bit more focus on retention and career growth. I know its a challenge. Also try to make sure all employees are on the same page when it comes to following the rules.


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