Sony Online Entertainment
2.5 of 5 76 reviews
www.sonyonline.com San Diego, CA 500 to 999 Employees

Sony Online Entertainment Reviews

Updated Apr 21, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.5 76 reviews

                             

29% Approve of the CEO

Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley

John Smedley

(58 ratings)

34% of employees recommend this company to a friend
76 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
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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
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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  • Approves of CEO

 

Great People, Great Games

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Sony Online Entertainment for more than 8 years

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

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worked on the web design team

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time

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

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1 person found this helpful  

Okay start, but don't stick around

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

I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time for more than 5 years

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

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A great company to work for and great mentors

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

I worked at Sony Online Entertainment as an intern for less than a year

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

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3 people found this helpful  

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

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

I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time

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

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3 people found this helpful  

SOE opened up many doors but

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

I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time for more than a year

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

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Overall, a great experience.

Artist (Current Employee)

I have been working at Sony Online Entertainment full-time for more than 10 years

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

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

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

I worked at Sony Online Entertainment full-time for more than 3 years

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

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Good times, not-so-good pay

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

I worked at Sony Online Entertainment as a contractor for more than a year

ProsThere was a lot of interdepartmental socialization and communication. I often felt like "part of the team" instead of "just a QA". Occasional chances for career paths out of QA. Occasional work-sponsored activities (e.g. parking-lot barbecues, movie days).

ConsZero job security. Baseline pay, even for QA, with little chance for improvement/raises. Politics and favoritism in upper department management. Occasional unprofessionalism from colleagues and managers.

Advice to Senior ManagementBe an advocate for your best people and a champion for quality!

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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You won't learn much, but at least it's a game job in San Diego

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Sony Online Entertainment

ProsAt least it's a fairly stable job that allows you to enjoy living in San Diego
It's game development, so that's always a little more fun and laid back than other companies

ConsNo one in upper management had a prior job where they learned first hand how to build and run a great organization.
The level you come in as is the level you're going to stay … forever.
There is a core circle of friends of the president, and then there's everyone else. Keep your opinions to yourself and just accept what you're asked to do.

Advice to Senior ManagementReplace yourselves with people who know how to build a successful company, not just one that manages to survive.

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

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Sony Online Entertainment reviews and ratings - including employee satisfaction and approval ratings for Sony Online Entertainment CEO John Smedley. All 76 reviews are posted anonymously by Sony Online Entertainment employees.