The Video Game Industry: Comparing the Cultures of Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Riot Games and Sony

We’ve got a look at the Company Cultures of five companies involved with the Video Game Industry today: Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Riot Games and Sony. Giant Microsoft and Sony produce the popular Xbox and Playstation game consoles, respectively. Riot Games is best known for the “League of Legends” franchise, Blizzard has the “Warcraft” series, and Electronic Arts produces games from “The Sims” franchise as well as several major sports games. Our question: Is it more fulfilling working for one of the smaller game companies that focus mostly on just those games, or is working for a larger conglomerate – who produce games as well as many other entertainment products – more well-rounded and secure? Using Comparably’s employee-submitted data, let’s take a look at how these five companies are run behind closed doors.

OVERALL CULTURE

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Blizzard wins the first category, for Overall Culture as rated by the company’s employes. Software giant Microsoft was in second (at more than ten percentage points behind) with Sony coming in third. Last is Electronic Arts, with a solid ‘C’.

Blizzard: ““We celebrate! We produce awesome, quality products and work does not feel like work but feels like an opportunity to contribute.”

Electronic Arts: We have about two team outings every year. Each game has a wrap party, and each studio has a holiday party.

Microsoft: I love working with great people, having work life flexibility, and a culture where making others great and having a growth mindset is valued.”

Riot: The Culture is one of feedback. The idea of only being able to fix things that they know are a problem. That said, not all departments are as open to this as they should be and it’s becoming worse not better.”

Sony: There is departmental culture. There is no visible corporate culture.”

CEO & LEADERSHIP

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Blizzard’s chief executive, J. Allen Brack, takes the little gold trophy in the CEO category with a notably high score of 94. Microsoft’s Satya Nadella was over a dozen points behind Brack even with a more-than-respectable score of 82. All five of our chief execs performed well here, overall.

Blizzard: I credit a lot of the company’s success to him and his leadership. i can feel that this company trying to treat its employees well and i believe it mainly comes from the leaderships conscious choice.”

Electronic Arts: “The executive team is transparent, has a clear vision for the company and builds a sense of team in every interaction.

Microsoft: Microsoft employees think highly of Satya. He has made a difference in the performance of the company and stockholders value.”

Riot: “Fix the Bro culture. Brandon needs to take ownership of the culture they created. Do whats right, not what’s easy.”

Sony: Meh, the CEO is a face. Sony is a conglomerate so employees mainly deal with their direct supervisors and those that supervise their supervisor. The CEO is untouchable by the ‘little people.’”

COMPENSATION

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Blizzard’s early lead become obvious in the very tight Compensation category, which gauges how employees feel about their pay. Microsoft also scored an A+ here, coming in just four percentage points behind Blizzard. Riot and Sony both scored high, and even last place Electronic Arts scored a solid B.

Blizzard: “Profit sharing is great, I personally don’t qualify for stock related options but the fact that my contributions are still factored what I take home is pretty cool.”

Electronic Arts: “Comp is solid relative to industry.

Microsoft: The annual bonus is great. I’ve yet to get less than a 10% bonus each year.

Riot: “As a single person, living close to work in this area is expensive. Wages for creative just aren’t as good as they claim. Pay talent better!”

Sony: “I’m paid an outrageous amount considering what it is I actually do.

PERKS & BENEFITS

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Two winners here for a tie: giant Microsoft with the higher grade, and smaller Blizzard with the higher percentage (the relative size of the two companies factors into the way the grades/percentages add up.) Electronic Arts redeems itself here with a solid third place showing. And both Sony and Riot scored well also, offering evidence that the Video Game Industry pays fairly well among American industries.

Blizzard: “Health benefits are reasonable, including incentives to stay healthy.”

Electronic Arts: You get 10 video games for free a year. (Really, that’s it.)”

Microsoft: Stock options, very good health insurance, employee-related benefits (store reductions, free beverages at the office, counseling for employees and family.)”

Riot: Unlimited PTO & flex hours, games fund, medical/dental/vision insurance options, FSA, wellness account (gym fund), 401K, fully subsidized lunch and dinner plus stocked kitchens with snacks.”

Sony: “The paid vacation is the best part of the compensation package.”

DIVERSITY

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Another strong win for Blizzard in the Diversity category. Behind Blizzard are Microsoft and Sony with solid scores, and Riot with a fourth place score just a shade behind those two. Last again is Electronic Arts, which employees describe as still being a victim of the old “boys club” mentality in the Video Game Industry.

Blizzard: “Blizzard is a progressive and open-minded culture. Differences are embraced, diversity is celebrated, and you’re always encouraged to share.”

Electronic Arts: Employees are predominantly white males, which is a bit unusual even for the tech industry. Only a handful of non-white males on each team and even fewer women.

Microsoft: Women are treated much better. Microsoft has exec bonuses tied to diversity. A sales career for a woman means lots of opportunity.”

Riot: We can always be more diverse. At the moment my team is about 20% women.

OUTLOOK

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Blizzard: Great brand, great product and amazing coworkers. Blizzcon is always something to look forward to every year along with all the amazing employee events throughout the year!”

Electronic Arts: Mobile is having the largest expansion, while console is having problems.

Microsoft: Almost all of the business is doing well. Cloud and PAAS doing best. onsite licensing is doing the worst.”

Riot: “I’ve never worked somewhere else where I felt so at home and like my instincts were always correct. I have my dream job.”

Sony: “I love working for a company that offers such exciting products.”

Winning for Outlook makes it official: Blizzard Entertainment wins for its culture and the satisfaction of it’s employees. The four others companies were fairly routed by Blizzard, who won in all six categories, sharing just one award (Perks & Benefits) with the Microsoft behemoth. Sony and Riot performed well but did not overachieve, and Electronic Arts apparently needs to rethink many of its policies if it wants to compete on a Culture level with more modern companies like Blizzard.

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