on January 30, 2015 by I love Japanese games
So news out today that Sega are looking to ditch 300 of their staff though voluntary redundancy in the US. This is never a nice thing for employees to have to go though – though it will come as no surprise given that the past year has seen Sega’s stock drop like a stone, and the company struggle to release anything of note outside a small handful of big releases like Alien Isolation…
And um… Sonic Boo- no, wait… that was shit.
That’s basically it.
So it’s no surprise that employees have been somewhat disgruntled over the years, as Sega fails to find it’s place in an industry that changes business models and tastes almost as fast as it’s employees changes their underwear.
Interestingly, website Glass Door (which specialises in canvasing opinions from employees so that job seekers can get a taste of what they’re letting themselves in for) have some nice insight into the working environment at Sega of America.
Go grab a coffee;
Bad business decisions, well above my pay grade. Money over quality was the general attitude there, and we missed out on some great opportunities.
Lots of disorganization and internal office politics conflicted the productivity level. Also lots of animosity across different departments. The anxiety of security also affected work on a negative level.
Increased pressure. There is a new directive that everyone be 100% busy 100% of the time. It’s pressing people to invent busy work for themselves so they never appear to be dawdling, or risk getting the stink eye from the new VP as he helicopters around the office.
Deteriorating morale. The new oppressive environment, the constant fear that you’ll be the next to go. It’s poisoning the camaraderie that was always the saving facet of this company. Everyone is on edge, everyone is fearful. No amount of enthusiastic floor speeches are going to keep people happy when they’re constantly looking over their shoulder and waiting on the axe to fall.
A little behind the market in compensation. The business moves a little slow, and new ideas can be hard pressed to gain approval.
Management…its always the same. They manage thru fear and threats…why can’t we get good managers?
The big downside of working at Sega America is of course having to work with Sega of Japan and Sega Europe, in particular having to work under the management from SOE over the last several years…which let’s face it, hasn’t worked out and on reflection appears to have not been a good idea. Yes, I’m biased…but it’s also true isn’t it?
In-fighting among mid/upper management created underlying animosity between groups. Many decisions are made for internal political reasons rather than good business reasons.
Business down 60% since 2007, Americans treated as 3rd class, Europeans treated as 2nd class. Politics rewarded over merit.
Poor track record of developing quality games. Game quality is consistently subpar. Little oversight of bad employees. Dysfunctional relationships with other business units creates lots of friction in daily work and long-term planning. Leadership is not consistent in its decision making regarding personnel with good employees fired and promoted and bad employees promoted and fired. Lack of healthy questioning of process and decisions.
Of course, I’m focusing entirely on the cons – while many are keen to point out the good in the company, though this is universally focused on the cameraderie among the those at the mid-to-bottom of the pile. Which I guess is the kind of ‘objective’ reporting you’d find at any large company. However, there’s a high degree of consistency among the employees cons – and as they say, there’s no smoke without fire.
So, what, according to these employess should Sega do to put things right? Unsurprisingly – similar advice to suggestions Sega fans have been saying for a long, long time;
Make less games, with more passion and heart poured into them.
Get off the zero-sum business plan and spread more bets so projects can live and die on quality. Amazing games will reap rewards in the market and restore the tarnished SEGA brand.
Listen to the people at the bottom. They have an honest and more truthful assessment of the situation than those on top.
Weed out, or at lease identify, the weak mid/upper managers. Do something to get the groups to work together instead of working against one another.
Stop penalizing the staff for high level mismanagement. There is a refusal to invest in anything but high risk AAA projects, a hesitance to diversify or expand the company’s line up. The company’s “pride” won’t mean anything when the doors are shuttered and the lights go out.
Make some decisions. Grow the business, but don’t fear cancelling products that are not meeting expectations, it will at least allow you to double down on the winners. Put some local leadership in place to represent SOA and sever this ridiculous leash that SOE has. It hasn’t worked out so change it.
So there are a few choice cuts, if you will. If you’d like to read a full and balanced appraisal of working at Sega in the US – then you can read more reviews and comments here.