Sony Online Entertainment

  www.sonyonline.com
  www.sonyonline.com

Sony Online Entertainment Reviews

Updated 4 November 2014
Updated 4 November 2014
84 Reviews
2.6
84 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley
John Smedley
64 Ratings

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 12 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)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    unstable

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

    Pros

    huge profits flowing in from the robust online gaming community. enthusiastic teams that enjoyed both developing as well as playing the games with the community.

    Cons

    there is an insider's club of the original founders and development team that receive funding and support for their projects even past the viability of the game.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    consider spending more on organizational development and team building between the development teams and the headquarter support functions

    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Great company to work with a little bit disorganized on the payments.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - 3D Artist I in San Diego, CA (US)
    Current Employee - 3D Artist I in San Diego, CA (US)

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    You get to work on cool projects. They were very willing to accommodate my needs to work from home. Art team was really nice and helpful.

    Cons

    I am working as contractor for them. I don't know if that is the reason but my payments are almost always late and I have to keep reminding the accounting department to pay me.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The only advice for me would be to keep an eye out on their accounting department.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Game Designer in San Diego, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Senior Game Designer in San Diego, CA (US)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    - 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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Customer Support Representative

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in San Diego, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Customer Service Representative in San Diego, CA (US)

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment full-time (more than an 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 ManagementAdvice

    Have more people like Jeff Bard

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Good.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Community Manager in Sofia (Bulgaria)
    Former Employee - Community Manager in Sofia (Bulgaria)

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good work hours.
    Reasonable connection with community.

    Cons

    Couldn't stay for longer. Minor disagreement with higher-ups.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look into the trenches more.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    A good place to start

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - QA Tester in San Diego, CA (US)
    Former Employee - QA Tester in San Diego, CA (US)

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    You are well-treated. Even as a contingent tester, you are invited to go to all the special outings with the team, and are fed during crunch time, and are even given one-on-ones with your supervisors. Additionally, it's a good way to get noticed by higher ups and move your way up the ranks.

    Cons

    The pay is not great. And sometimes it seems harder than it should be to get hired on from being a contingent employee, even if your work is outstanding. This has more to do with budgeting than anything else, but it is nonetheless a detriment.

    Also, get ready for A LOT of crunch time, as is standard in this industry.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep your employees more well-informed. Feeling more connected encourages communication, which fosters good workflow.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    great people, horrible middle management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Game Master (Graveyard Shift) in San Diego, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Game Master (Graveyard Shift) in San Diego, CA (US)

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Great People, Great Games

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

    I worked at Sony Online Entertainment (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    The 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.

    Cons

    Sometimes 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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    worked on the web design team

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time

    Pros

    really 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.

    Cons

    the 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 ManagementAdvice

    don'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.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Employees are NOT NPCs!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Diego, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Diego, CA (US)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

Sony Online Entertainment Photos

View of the Sony Online Entertainment headquarter office located in San Diego, CA (Photo by Coolcaesar - available under CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 & GFDL, v1.180)
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