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Sony Online Entertainment Reviews

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91 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Lots of great people and artists at the company (in 8 reviews)

  • Good benefits and generous PTO plan (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Incredibly over-extended use of crunch time showed massive oversights by managers in assessing scope, staff and scheduling time and time again (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "SOE gave me a shot with no experience and promoted me through six positions in five years!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Game Designer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Game Designer in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    There was great Upward Mobility, the Benefits were the best in the business, upper management is very Friendly.

    Cons

    Compensation is fairly low for the industry but not the worst esp in Austin.
    Company just changed hands so there are some uncharted roads ahead.


  2. "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Game Designer in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Game Designer in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Management really cares about the employees. Lots of talented developers. You can get exposure to many different areas of the business if you put some time into it. Strong history of promoting from within.

    Cons

    Company often over-reaches on the number of projects in development at a time, or under-values the specialized knowledge and skills required to succeed in new areas. Doesn't leverage the inherent strengths of their tech and platform to make easier wins.


  3. Helpful (8)

    "Good people, poor management, terrible decisions"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    There some pros to this company
    Most employees are very nice
    You don't have to dress up to work
    It's a game company

    Cons

    While there are a few pros there are quite some cons

    Expect to be overworked
    Most people (while nice) have no idea what they are doing
    Upper management and the CEO are all part of the same "boys club" and they will protect themselves above anything else
    Lack of focus in production phase: teams will change priorities week in and week out, causing unfinished and broken features

    Advice to Management

    To Columbus Nova. Even though I just been laid off this is not s review made to be vengeful. This is my honest opinion. While I agree with some of the layoffs decisions if you looked hard enough you will see that Smedley and all his little buddies are the one that survived while adding no value to the company.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Good People, Long Hours, Decent Work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - QA Tester in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - QA Tester in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great people who are very passionate, close-knit groups, and generally willing to share information within the company if asked.

    Cons

    Long hours, upper management can seem out of touch, scheduling can be a mess.

    Advice to Management

    Try to avoid last-minute scheduling that results in calling people in only to find they can't do their job because they're waiting on other teams that aren't coming in that day.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Great work environment; no room for advancement"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - QA Tester in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - QA Tester in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Work environment is incredibly friendly

    Cons

    No room for growth within the company
    Pay is very poor
    Very top heavy

    Advice to Management

    Hearing that I'll never get a pay increase in my first week is very rough to hear.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Nice People Who Are Too Accepting Of Mediocrity And Nepotism"

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

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The expectations are very low and you'll often be play testing games. Most people are very nice.

    Cons

    Game team leadership has an abundance of arrogance and elitism.
    Game teams hire their friends and ignore talent from other departments.
    Compensation is well below market.
    No stock options or grants.
    No opportunity for advancement (no one is let go for poor performance).
    It's easy to pick up bad habits as management resists change.
    With little to no coding standards, the game code is a mess.
    The company is continuing to downsize as players leave EQ and EQII.
    Significant use of contractors.

    Advice to Management

    Eliminate under performers and promote those who excel.
    Develop a company wide coding standard and enforce it.
    Bring back the internship program, particularly for designers and developers.
    Stop over promising to customers.
    Substantially raise hiring standards and compensation.


  8. Helpful (8)

    "Get out as soon as you get on a development team."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Game Designer in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Game Designer in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    - Good place to get your start in the industry.
          Promotions from QA & CS are common. If you bump into Smedley (current CEO) in the street and say something that amuses him, he may also hire you without any previous game/development/tech experience.

     - Impossible to get fired.
          It doesn't matter if you don't actually do anything, you can keep your job indefinitely, especially if you're a programmer. See: Cons

     - There are several brewery tasting rooms nearby.
          They're within walking distance so you can drown your sorrows before, during, or after work.

    Cons

    - Complete incompetence of management.
          The people steering the ship have no idea what they're doing. Nobody in charge has made a successful game this century. They also refuse to listen to the few experienced individuals who they have managed to hire.

    - Inexperienced staff.
          Since there is such a prevalence of individuals that have been promoted out of QA/CS/the street, the vast majority of people have only ever worked in game development at SOE. In several areas (particularly production) it's a case of the blind leading the blind. Nobody receives the training necessary to KNOW how to do their job properly.

     - Low turnover.
          The ratio of useful employees to useless ones skews heavily toward the latter. In addition to being plagued with inexperienced staff, most development teams have staff that either doesn't actually work, or are just straight up bad at their job. There is no personal responsibility or discipline taken against employees who continually fail to deliver. Bad employees are never let go as Smedley (and therefor all of upper management) sees the company not as a business, but as a family. Having a family is great, but this one is full of siblings you wish you could disown.

     - Too much value placed on programmers.
          In reality, they're the easiest to replace as most positions in this discipline can be recruited from outside the games industry. In every round of layoffs that the company has had, the programming department is always the least affected (often not at all affected), leading to an abundance of programmers who have no reason to fear losing their jobs and continue to underperform.

     - Unclear pipelines & muddy communication.
          The flow of information between disciplines is terrible. This is mostly due to inexperienced production staff, but is also affected by middle management never having been exposed to a functional work environment.

     - Poor games.
          It should go without saying, but all of the above is what contributes to the overall fact that the quality of games being created by SOE is terrible. The budgets are AAA, but the results are worse than most dedicated hobbyists could pull off. The structure that supports SOE allows it to create MMOs, which is the only thing that makes this company unique. This genre is dying and in need of some large changes to revitalize it, unfortunately I don't think the current incarnation of SOE is capable of doing that.

    Advice to Management

    - Complete any projects that have direction and achievable goals with positive outlook
          - Planetside on PS4
          - DCUO expansion
          - EQ & EQ2 expansions
     - Cancel everything else
          - EQ Next
          - Landmark
          - H1Z1
     - Remove C-level staff
     - Remove Franchise Directors
     - Lay off vast majority of programming staff
          - Ask senior programmers who is worth keeping
     - Ask remaining programmers, artists, designers and producers who actually WANTS to stay
          - The number is so low it may shock you
     - Change the name of the company
     - Recruit competent C-level employees
     - Restaff back up to 25% or less of the original headcount
          - Being far more selective and only hiring quality employees
     - During this restructuring time period, use the talent on hand to enter preproduction
          - A hand full of small (MMO/non-MMO & mobile) titles
          - Evaluate all projects and only enter production on few
          - Ensure reasonable scope, given this simple formula
                - cost = time * headcount


  9. "Customer Support Representative"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great work environment, excellent review system during first 3 months

    Cons

    Got laid off, but kind of the nature of the beast working as a contractor.

    Advice to Management

    Have more people like Jeff Bard


  10. Helpful (4)

    "Employees are NOT NPCs!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The people at SOE are so creative. Working with the game designers and the artists was quite a kick.

    Cons

    The team I worked on pretty much ran on long hours, insane deadlines, and incompetent incomprehensible management. The throw the phrase "crunch time" around like it's breakfast cereal, then take off on their own multi-week vacations.

    Advice to Management

    Hire some? Consider replacing most of your directors and all of your VPs with someone who actually knows and/or cares that SOE is a BUSINESS.


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Okay start, but don't stick around"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Game Designer in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Game Designer in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    It's pretty easy to get an entry level job
    You have a decent chance of getting an apprenticeship for code/design/art/sound
    It's pretty laid back

    Cons

    Management has absolutely no clue who's good and who's bad
    Takes forever to get promoted, if you do
    Nepotism rules all, so playing politics is better than being good at your job
    Be ready to be micromanaged to the teeth

    Advice to Management

    Find some way to figure out how to judge your employees properly. Nobody likes to see someone with less experience and less talent get promoted while they are stuck stagnant because someone doesn't like them for whatever reason.

    Remove the nepotism and judge based on performance.


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