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What They Do
Develop well-known videogames, including the Resistance, Ratchet & Clank, and Spyro the Dragon franchises.
Headquarters: Burbank, California
What Makes Insomniac Games, Inc. Great
Who’s up for a good game of Outernauts? Ratchet and Clank? Life-size garden chess or a swing on the putting green? Welcome to Insomniac Games, where your “face is gonna get rocked whether you like it or not.”
The company, which has been cranking out wildly popular video games for nearly 20 years, pushes collaboration and communication throughout every level of the company, starting with CEO Ted Price. One employee tells us, “Insomniac has the philosophy that great ideas can come from anywhere or anyone on the team regardless of seniority. A lot of places say that but I think we really do that.”
Jobs here come with the fun you’d expect for a gaming company — happy hours, holiday parties, a weekly on-site chiropractor — but there’s also plenty of hard work going on, and employees seem to like it that way.
“Anybody who looks at our company and all the fantastic perks thinks that is the only reason why employees love to work here,” says one employee. “It’s great. Don’t get me wrong. But here is why I choose to stick around: People treat each other fairly, consider each other and are so passionate about their jobs it's incredibly inspiring.”
Insomniac challenges its game developers to push the boundaries of their creative and technical know-how, and then rewards them with plenty of parties, game credits and royalty bonuses. “We work hard here, but no one needs to tell us to do that,” says one employee. “There is such a feeling of dedication and team spirit and pride in our craft that it is all voluntary. HR and management reward us very well, with constant community surprises like breakfast bars, contests and cocktail hours. We never feel like the company is taking advantage of us.”
Leadership is given a lot of credit here and 94 percent of Insomniacs report that management is honest and ethical. Not only will they listen to every idea, no matter how good, bad, or off-the-wall it is, but they are humble enough to take responsibility and admit their own blunders. “Management is very good at holding itself accountable. If something went wrong during a production, they're good at owning up to their own mistakes. All this is done with the interest of what we as a team need to do better.”
Insomniac includes employees’ families in their company celebrations, nominating ‘“Better Half Ambassadors” who roll out events for Insomniac’s significant others. “I've never worked for any company that offered the type of perks and benefits for me and my family that Insomniac does...,” says one employee. “They go above and beyond to make this more than a job.”
While Insomniac differentiates itself in many areas, some challenges go with the territory. Crunch time is the nature of the beast in this industry, where release deadlines and last-minute changes have employees working overtime during the most critical points of production. Accordingly, some Insomniacs would love management to bring on more resources or send people home more during those busy seasons. It’s a hectic industry, and some people say that with so many stakeholders to please, it can be easy for the company to get thrown off course by the barrage of external suggestions and demands. And, with 164 men and 19 women on staff, Insomniac might seem like a man’s world.
Even taking into account all the hard work required, nearly nine out of 10 employees say that they are paid fairly for what they do and receive a fair share of the profits. Employees praise the benefits as well, which include royalty payments for all employees, 100 percent health care coverage, 45 days paid time off in the first year, weekly catered lunches, and an on-site massage therapist twice per week.
Insomniac’s playful culture also promotes some favorites from grade school days that can balance out the inevitable demands. Show-and-tells, oversized character statues, and a philosophy that “It’s OK to fail” encourage employees to work as a team and to fully embrace the world of art, design, audio and game play.
“We take a lot of pride in the work we do and the products we create,” says one employee, “but there are also lots of things we do together that help people have fun at work as well as outside of work. This makes us feel like something more than just a business place.”
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