Company reviews website Glassdoor has published its 2018 Best Places to Work awards and a few games (or games-related) companies have made the cut. Importantly, the awards are entirely driven by employees' choice, based on numerous reviews submitted anonymously by the employees during the course of the year.
Coming in at the very top of the large companies list is Facebook, which of course isn't strictly a games company but uses its social platform for them and owns VR firm Oculus. Google isn't far behind, placing fifth. Graphics powerhouse Nvidia is also highly ranked at number 24.
The highest ranked pure gaming company, however, is Blizzard Entertainment, which secured the 28th spot on the list. Blizzard was praised by its employees for a great work-life balance and a relaxed, friendly work environment. The cost of living in Irvine, California was cited as a big drawback and one employee noted, "You have to work really hard to exceed expectations which can erode some of the exalted 'work-life balance'." That said, most employees had glowing remarks for the Hearthstone and Overwatch studio.
"Most companies have 'pillars' and then ignore them. Blizzard has cast them in bronze, made them the center of their campus, and focuses on them every day," remarked another employee. "It doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but when one of your pillars is 'Play Nice, Play Fair' it's a refreshing change of pace. At Blizzard, a common phrase that is spoken is 'Set them up for success.' The idea that in everything we do, we should be setting our co-workers as well as our games up for success. In these ideals, Blizzard works at making them a reality, not just saying them."
Microsoft and Apple make the list as well, at 39th and 84th, respectively, but the other major games publisher to be honored is Electronic Arts, which of course has come a long way from the controversial days of "EA Spouse." In 56th place, EA is praised by staff for its high salaries and nice perks, such as "Free games, ice cream, masseur on site, work events, raffles, meditation rooms to chill, etc." and for supporting and fostering growth in its employees.
One member of EA suggested that management: "Keep your employees in the loop more, offer game time to employees to gain hands-on product knowledge [and] acknowledge that stats are highly biased and often out of the advisor's control due to issues only Studio can fix." Another said EA is great "except during layoff season," as those at Visceral can attest to.
The top small and medium category did not list any games companies.