Sony Online Entertainment Reviews | Glassdoor

Sony Online Entertainment Reviews

Updated May 2, 2017
92 reviews

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Pros
  • Lots of great people and artists at the company (in 9 reviews)

  • Typically the hours don't crunch very much and the day-to-day work/life balance is even (in 5 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)

    "Need to get rid of dead weight."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits are great
    Raises have been non-existent for 2 years.
    Bonuses are based on how much you are liked
    Flexible work schedule
    Very little micro-management

    Cons

    Middle management is LOADED with individuals who by all accounts, do little to no work.
    The "boys club" is obvious. If you belong, you are golden.
    Senior management has been in their roles entirely too long.
    The company has become bloated and in desperate need of streamlining and cost reductions. Most of senior management is out of touch with reality. When game producers fail to create a good game or launch a game on time, you reward them by giving them a new assignment and continue to pay out bonuses.

    Advice to Management

    Reduce middle management by 50%.
    Cut game producers that fail to accomplish their objectives.
    Run SOE like a corporate and not a good ole' boys club.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Missteps and fading competence."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    It's interesting, it's cool, it's fun. The company is flexible and creative most of the time. John Smedley cares about his people.

    Cons

    SOE has been bleeding talent. Too many of the people leaving have been the best, and they are not being replaced, or being replaced at the same level.

    Advice to Management

    Beware yes-men. It's the opposite of core competency. Capable people need to be empowered and listened to. Reward what works over what you want to hear.

  3. "Small company means that you have ability to gain vast amount of knowledge on various depts"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good benefits and generous PTO plan
    Great place to work if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get dirty.
    Casual work environment - jeans and flip flops every day

    Cons

    Pay raises are not fair . It is dependent on who you can suck up to.
    No advancement or advancement only attainable if you work 24/7.

    Advice to Management

    Have more work/life balance by cross training employees. Numerous employees are maxed out on their PTO. What does that tell you about the work environment.


  4. "Relatively good place to work."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Health benefits are very good. Lot's of talented staff.

    Cons

    There have been some poor decisions from the CEO and upper management on games in development.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Excellent place to get started as a designer, but don't bother staying there."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Game Designer in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Game Designer in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Talented and motivated Quality Assurance and Customer Service members are often given opportunities to apprentice for other positions including design and art. Benefits are very generous. Corporate perks include a nice discount at the SonyStyle store.

    Cons

    Lower salaries when compared to other development studios. Knee-jerk decisions regularly made by top-level management. Lay-offs seem to occur every couple of year. Major round of lay-offs in 2011.

    Advice to Management

    John Smedley, you are penny-wise and pound foolish. Nickel and diming customers at every opportunity and continually looking for ways to monetize parts of SOE's games is not a way to earn customer loyalty and goodwill. Instead it earns the ire of your customers and drives them to Trion and Blizzard who offer more "free" ancillary services. This, in turn, keeps their customers paying for subscriptions and micro-transactions month after month and lays the foundation for an utterly fanatical loyalty and sterling reputation. Also, by not paying designers and artists a competitive salary you reinforce the cycle of taking in raw talent, training them into professional positions, and then ultimately losing to better paying companies.


  6. "Good, but limited"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Global Brand Manager in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Global Brand Manager in San Diego, CA
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    A lot of talented people
    Great, friendly, casual atmosphere
    Fun games
    Down to earth Executive team
    Lots of access to top

    Cons

    Not a lot of opportunity for advancement
    Marketing is underdeveloped and underfunded
    Limited resources
    Internal relationship politics

    Advice to Management

    Actively retain talent. Instead of waiting for them to threaten to leave, you should actively attempt to retain top employees. Invest in market research and test concepts before drudging ahead with projects.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "No support for the support."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Billing and Technical Customer Support in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Billing and Technical Customer Support in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great Co-Workers, good learning experience, amazing products, good opportunities to see the industry from the inside.

    Cons

    It is almost impossible to advance beyond a starting position. The pay is a bit low. No benefits or vacation to speak of.

    Advice to Management

    Try to acknowledge the effort of the good employees. There is no incentive besides the treat of unemployment - change that.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "A fairly typical gaming QA experience."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Flexible hours, management relatively easy to work with.

    Cons

    Low pay, QA advice rarely listened to.

    Advice to Management

    QA is never going to improve until you can retain your best testers. Your best testers will always leave for better paying jobs (that they might enjoy less or not be as good at). QA is never going to improve until the salaries do.


  9. Helpful (10)

    "An overly complacent culture satisfied with mediocrity detached from the rest of the game development community."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Programmer in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Programmer in San Diego, CA
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good compensation, benefits, and some great, talented people if you know where to find them. Crunch times are rare. If you're very motivated, you might find opportunities to really improve technology. The underlying technology behind client-server communications works quite well. San Diego is a beautiful city.

    Cons

    There seems to be a prevailing culture that is content with relative mediocrity. Mediocre visual presentation quality, long loading times, poor frame rates, and frequent seconds long hitches and stalls are the norm here. There are technical reasons for these issues that are lost on the majority of the engineers who work there. Those engineers that bring invaluable experience from other game studios that produce far superior titles face an uphill battle as they attempt to explain how things can and should work better to technical leads. Some tech leads in particular are highly intelligent software engineers, but would be better suited to lead work on non gaming applications while they have little to no experience working at other game studios, and on top of it all, don't seem to even enjoy playing games very much, especially the competition. Micromanagement is often a big issue as well, and finding support when you really need it from tech leads is very challenging as they are spread too thin managing everybody else. Be prepared to be chastised for writing code that isn't compliant to an arbitrary personal standard even if it's highly legible, works flawlessly, and all but impossible to break.

    Effective developer tools are largely non-existent here. Other engineers have an air or arrogance when it comes to realizing the importance of good tools as they seem to think that they are the ones that make the games and fail to support the real hands-on developers: designers and artists. There's a real failure to realize that good tools means faster development time, and faster development time also means superior quality of output since motivation can remain high.

    Negative cash flow year after year with routine mass layoffs make company longevity outlook pessimistic. SOE employs hundreds of people, and despite working there for years, I have no idea who most of them are, and always wondered why despite there being so many people getting paid, the quality of work is abysmally low overall.

    Advice to Management

    Start completely over. Throw all the current crappy in-house developer tools away and make new ones. There are employees that are highly motivated to make great things happen. Find them and offer more incentive to succeed. Tech leads stop micromanaging engineers, and allow them to lead themselves as experts in their own specialties. Designate experts in all fields: graphics, animation, physics, sound, tools, and delegate supporting roles toward them rather than trying to be the point-man for everything.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Good start, but probably nowhere you'd want to stay."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time

    Pros

    SOE is a good start to the gaming industry through their internship programs. They also seem to keep their contract workers and hire them on full-time. They provide decent project completion bonuses for the big ones, and direct management cares about their workers.

    Cons

    Certain pet projects of upper management wind up having fairly significant changes demanded left and right - even on a friday afternoon the weekend before a beta launch. There seems to be a consensus among some employees that upper management makes very questionable decisions, particularly in regards to priorities. Too often, there would be a demand for a feature that imposed significant code change which would put the project months off schedule, and yet we'd be expected to somehow keep the schedule regardless.

    Advice to Management

    Make the marketing department talk to developers and qa before they announce upcoming features and release dates. Some features they think aren't much require significant code change and provide a long stressful hassle for the development and qa teams that could be avoided, or at least improved, by better communication.


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