Sony Online Entertainment

  www.sonyonline.com
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

Sony Online Entertainment Reviews

Updated Jun 19, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.5 78 reviews

30% Approve of the CEO

Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley

John Smedley

(60 ratings)

33% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • It's game development, so that's always a little more fun and laid back than other companies(in 7 reviews)

  • At least it's a fairly stable job that allows you to enjoy living in San Diego(in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • Upper management is too far removed from the actual development process to understand its huge flaws(in 11 reviews)

  • Senior management had no idea who you work (workflow) or some of the abuse you put up with dealing with customers(in 5 reviews)

78 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    great people, horrible middle management

    Game Master (Graveyard Shift) (Former Employee) San Diego, CA (US)

    Prosthis could be a great place to work if you are an excellent networker.

    Consdo not start in qa/cs these jobs go nowhere.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Great People, Great Games

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsThe people here are creative and excellent to work with. I loved my time there and would work there again if I were not in the wrong city. I felt that I was able to move up the ladder at SOE. Passion and drive are not frowned upon (at least not by the people I worked with). The upcoming games look excellent and I think only the sky is the limit for the company.

    ConsSometimes the overall strategy can take a 2nd place to last minute ideas and changes that should be given more time to percolate. They have made some awful mistakes int he past, but I honestly believe they have learned from them and are on a better footing for the future than they were in the past.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    worked on the web design team

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    Prosreally great benefits, medical etc. that also included things such as free life drawing classes for artists. Really fun projects and titles to work with. Got to work with other talented artists and devs. The web design management team at the time was supportive and not political at all. I'm not sure that I can say that about other departments.

    Consthe design team needed more power to run their department and sometimes marketing would be allowed to run design projects badly. On my way out though it looked like this was less and less the case.

    They were a little slow to embrace changing web technology and we would still get hampered by having to do things like make sure all projects worked in IE6 and this was in 2008.

    They definitely need to trim their losing titles and get some better products out.

    Definitely bureaucratic at times.

    Advice to Senior Managementdon't let bad management stay too long. All in all though great people, great work, great resources and a talented team. I did see some promising titles just sink after a lot of hard work.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Employees are NOT NPCs!

    Senior Software Engineer (Former Employee) San Diego, CA (US)

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

    ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementHire 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Okay start, but don't stick around

    Game Designer (Current Employee) San Diego, CA (US)

    ProsIt'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

    ConsManagement 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 Senior ManagementFind 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    A great company to work for and great mentors

    Environment Artist (Former Employee) San Diego, CA (US)

    ProsAs an intern, it is a very friendly environment to experience the life of a game artist. The people you work for and with are fun to be around and you can tell they love what they do. It is an all around creative environment where any kind of game artist can be inspired and learn important industry skills.

    ConsHardly any cons. Sometimes the break room was out of a particular kind of tea or coffee, but this is bad only if you're picky.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep doing what you are doing. Whatever it is it seems to be working.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

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

    QA Tester (Current Employee) San Diego, CA (US)

    ProsSOE 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.

    ConsCertain 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 Senior ManagementMake 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    SOE opened up many doors but

    Billing and Technical Customer Support (Current Employee) San Diego, CA (US)

    ProsSwag, Perks, E3 and Fan Faire

    ConsLaunch Days, Upper Management and lack of a decent break room.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFor starters it helps to know your employee’s by first name or last instead of referring to them by the project they worked on Smed. Also it seems a lot of people at SOE made promise they never intended to keep from games credits to future job openings.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Overall, a great experience.

    Artist (Current Employee)

    ProsThe bottom line for upper management is to make good games, retain people over the long haul and provide them with a good way to make a living. They try to make it a fun place to work, and encourage life balance. Yes, making money is important to them, but money is a means to an end. They are loyal to employees as much as practicality will allow. They don't lay people off unless they have to.

    ConsThe company has been struggling over the last few years. The games are often too confusing and complex for the general public. The last couple of games were very expensive and did not do as well as expected. They haven't found a way to make a good profit under the new free-to-play business model. Company morale is currently low.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    6 people found this helpful  

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

    Programmer (Former Employee) San Diego, CA (US)

    ProsGood 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.

    ConsThere 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 Senior ManagementStart 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.

    – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

Worked for Sony Online Entertainment? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.