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The 5 Best Gaming Companies to Work for in 2016

Top 5 Videogame companies rated according to employee feedback.

Nearly every avid gamer has at least considered the possibility of going into game design as a career. But even with a degree in computer science and a real passion for games, it can be a tough job to start.

More and more colleges and universities are offering game-related programs these days. The issue is where do you go after graduation? There are dozens of game developers in America alone. Whether they are a subsidiary of a larger company or an independent developer, you want to make the right decision...since you'll probably be spending long hours on the job.

Like any industry, there are some companies that are great to work for and some that aren't so great. But thanks to the Internet, you don't have to actually work for any of them to find out which is which. Using employee feedback site Glassdoor.com, we've already determined which gaming companies are the best to work for right now.

In ranking these companies, I looked at factors like the percentage of employees that recommended the company to friends, satisfaction with the current CEO, and how many had a positive outlook on the future of the company. I also disqualified businesses that had less than one hundred reviews.

Keep in mind as you read this list that not all companies have employees that give feedback. Many of the larger companies also have multiple studios that are grouped together under the parent company's umbrella. So for instance, Ubisoft Montreal would be listed as Ubisoft.

Well, let's get to it and find out the best game companies to work for in 2016.

5. Sony Interactive Entertainment America, LLC

North American Subsidiary Studios: Naughty Dog, Bend Studio, San Diego Studio, Santa Monica Studio, Sucker Punch Productions.

Headquarters in: Foster City, CA

Popular Game Franchises: God of War, Uncharted, MLB: The Show, The Last of US, Infamous, Sly Cooper

Pros:
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Work Culture
  • Benefits and Perks
Cons:
  • Less than competitive pay (in Bay Area)
  • Job advancement opportunities
  • Senior Management

"There is a disconnect of business goals between the various stakeholders and management, resulting in endless discussions about appropriate resource support. But with new management, this could be changing..."

-- Former Employee (Senior Manager, Marketing in San Mateo, CA)

"In general management has greatly improved over the years. In the past it was more closed off, but in recent years the company has embraced multiple platforms. All in all a great place to work with a lot of growth opportunities for someone willing to put in the time and effort."

-- Former Employee (Senior Software Engineer in San Diego, CA)

4. Ubisoft

North American Subsidiary Studios: Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Halifax, Ubisoft Quebec, Ubisoft San Francisco, Ubisoft Toronto (pictured above)

Headquarters in: Rennes, France

Popular Game Franchises: Far Cry, Rocksmith, Tom Clancy Franchises, Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, For Honor, South Park

Pros:
  • Work/life balance
  • Work culture
  • Collaboration with worldwide teams
Cons:
  • Language barriers
  • Low salaries

"Fun environment, team building,benefits are really good, great environment overall, people are the best part and you end up building some lifelong friendships"

-- Current Employee (Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA)

"The people, the creativity, the collaboration and the energy are the best parts of Ubisoft. It's a great place to learn about the business and gain experience all while helping make the best games in the industry."

-- Former Employee (Anonymous)

3. Electronic Arts

North American Subsidiary Studios: BioWare, EA Baton Rouge, EA Canada, DICE LA, EA Montreal, EA San Francisco, EA Salt Lake, EA Tiburon, Motive Studios, PopCap Games, The Sims Studio, Visceral Games, Capital Games

Headquarters in: Redwood Shores, CA

Popular Game Franchises: Mass Effect, Battlefield, Madden NFL, FIFA, Star Wars, Plants VS Zombies, The Sims, Mirror's Edge, Need for Speed

Pros:
  • Work/life balance
  • Work culture
  • Benefits and perks
Cons:
  • Crunch times cause high stress
  • Full-time employment status difficult to get
  • Salaries not competitive

"Great campus, great gym, good benefits, solid line up of game products, wild range of supported platforms, good family friendly work environment."

-- Current Employee (Lead Artist in Redwood City, CA)

"The compensation, amenities, and perks are fantastic! After hearing the horror stories about EA for years, those stories were proven completely wrong. I have absolutely no remorse from accepting a position at EA."

-- Current Employee (Anonymous)

2. Blizzard Entertainment

Subsidiary of: Activision Blizzard

Headquarters in: Irvine, CA

Popular Game Franchises: Overwatch, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Starcraft, Diablo

Why they are number two:

  • #77 on Fortune's '100 Best Companies to Work For' 2016
    • Awarded to parent company Activision Blizzard
Pros: 
  • Benefits and perks
  • Work culture
  • Work/life balance
  • Employee retention
  • Management
Cons:
  • Slow turnover
  • High cost of living in area
  • Customer service department

 "Everyone from the top to the bottom genuinely cares first and foremost about making great games. No shovelware here, no publishers dictating design to try and catch the latest fad. Great products, successful company, I've had maybe 2 days of crunch in 4 years. It seems like every week we are celebrating someone's 10, 15 or 20 years here at Blizzard. People tend to join and never leave.

Art, design, and other creative fields are respected much more here compared to other companies (I'm an engineer FWIW). I've seen several problems come up which would be company sinking crises at other studios (I've worked at 7 other game studios, and have seen many layoffs and shutdowns), but here, the ship changed course, smart decisions were made and implemented, and disasters were averted. Pretty amazing."

-- Current Employee (Senior Engine/Graphics Programmer in Irvine, CA)

1. Riot Games

Independent Company (Note: Riot Games was bought out by Tencent in 2015. However, it is still listed as an independent company.)

Headquarters in: Los Angeles, CA

Popular Game Franchises: League of Legends

Why they are number one:

  • #39 on Fortune's '100 Best Companies to Work For' 2016
  • #51 on Fortune's '100 Best Workplaces of Millennials' 2016
  • #14 on Fortune's '50 Best Workplaces for Flexibility' 2016
  • #19 on Fortune's '50 Best Workplaces for Camaraderie' 2016
Pros:
  • Work-life balance
  • Benefits and perks
  • Work culture
  • Management
  • See awards mentioned above
Cons:
  • High cost of living in area
  • Growing pains
  • Self-management critical

"Planning and arbitration are, as everyone mentions, an issue. Such is the life of a burgeoning billion dollar company. It's an opportunity for those who lead. It's disastrous for folks who cannot self-direct."

-- Current Employee (Anonymous)

The Cultural Foundation is very strong, and deftly communicated to Rioters from Day One. It is revisited and repeated. The employee support is terrific. You are given everything you need to do your best work. You will work with the best team mates you have ever worked with, and you are working with products that Players are passionate about. The success at Riot is viewed internally with enthusiasm, respect and humility.

-- Current Employee (Lead of Video Operations in Los Angeles, CA)

There you have it. Is it a coincidence that the best company is independent? As Riot Games grows, will they solve their reporting structure problems, or become too big to maintain their award-winning ways?

Were you surprised by the results on this list, or were they in line with what you expected? What other gaming companies do you think would be great to work for? Let me know in the comments!

Published Oct. 31st 2016

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