What You Should Know
Insomniac Games, Inc. offers its employees a chance to work at an independent video game company that excels at community, creativity and quirkiness. There's a lightheartedness to nearly everything they do -- from handing out a three-foot wrench as an employee recognition award, to hosting milk-and-cookie breaks, to taking employees and their families to the Bahamas. But there is substance, too. Insomniac Games provides extensive career development programs, is open and communicative with staff and acts on employee feedback. Especially sweet: Everyone in the company receives royalty payments on the sale of company games. Insomniacs can stay up late working on ambitious deadlines typical of the industry, but the company is always working to improve quality of life initiatives in the studio. And 94 percent of staffers endorse Insomniac Games as a great workplace. Explains one employee: "Insomniac is an unusually cheerful place. Maybe it's the great benefits, maybe it's the creature comforts or maybe it's the fact that project management schedules our work in a manageable way, but whatever the reason, people here are energetic and motivated and genuinely happy to be here."
WHAT THEY DO
Insomniac Games is an independent video game developer that focuses on AAA console games such as the Ratchet & Clank series, the Resistance franchise and the soon to be released Sunset Overdrive. Insomniac Games also introduced its first mobile title, Outemauts, earlier this year.
||US Headquarters: Burbank, California
|US Sites: 2
||Major Locations: Burbank; Durham
|US Employees: 206
How much responsibility would I have? What kind of support is there for professional development?
Great Rated! conducted an anonymous survey of randomly selected Insomniac Games employees to assess the quality of the workplace challenges the company provides. An average of 82 percent of Insomniac Games employees report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 13 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 95 percent of employees in the Great Challenges category.
Insomniac Games employees help create widely sold, recognizable video games and franchises. The company has approximately 206 employees in the United States, where they operate two locations.
Most employees (94 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and almost as many (92 percent) also say that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them. For the majority of employees (88 percent), their work at Insomniac Games is more than just a job: the chance to delight and appeal to a diverse gaming audience provides special meaning.
At Insomniac Games, 74 percent of employees feel they receive the training and development they need to further their careers. While it is often difficult for companies to ensure that promotions are awarded fairly across organizations, at Insomniac Games, 79 percent say that promotions consistently go to those who best deserve them, within 6 percentage points of what one can typically expect at even the very best companies in the country.
Supporting Employee Development
- Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 80 hours
- The company provides unlimited paid days of conference attendance, as well as incentives to speak at conferences. Insomniac Games also provides educational reimbursement for all employees after one year of service, an online learning system complete with tutorials and videos for 24/7 access to training, department-specific speakers and training, offsite training and onsite lunch-and-learn seminars. There are also leadership-specific development seminars and mentorship programs.
Insomniac gives employees exceptional freedom in their work hours and habits. By giving employees wide access to training resources (such as the GDC Vault) and professional conferences, Insomniac shows an obvious commitment to personal development. Working on the very best games makes all the difference.
What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?
An average of 90 percent of Insomniac Games employees say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 7 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 97 percent of employees in the Great Atmosphere category.
Insomniac Games' office includes such amenities as a basketball court, a putting green and an onsite gym. Large TVs are situated in the lobby and the staff kitchen so as to better broadcast news and announcements. Employees work at desks, and say that requests for upgraded tools, such as standing desks, multiple monitors and faster computers, are quickly resolved by the company.
Fun and Celebrations
- Insomniac Games provides many fun activities for its employees, including a happy hour every four to six weeks, free lunch draws, green beer on St. Patty's day, an office Easter egg hunt, lavish wrap and milestone parties and a monthly company-wide birthday celebration. You'll want to be there for Insomniac Games' 25th anniversary -- because for their last two major milestones they took everyone in the company (and their spouses, kids or guests) on a three-day cruise to Mexico and a trip to the Bahamas.
- The company incorporates fun into its everyday activities and has a playful spirit to much of what they do, well beyond specific events. Employees hand out a giant three-foot wrench (based on the tool the hero carries in their Ratchet series) in recognition of any employee who makes another's work life easier. They hide bananas and pineapples in important emails, entering those who notice them into raffles. It's a company that avoids taking itself too seriously: Even the CEO's weekly email update is called, "What's Awesome This Week."
Caring and Support
- Employees are provided with 10 sick days a year, and Insomniac Games offers flexible working hours and leaves of absence in the event of an emergency. Employees have donated vacation time to other team members in need of time off for medical issues and after a tragic accident lead to the death of one of their employees, Insomniac Games set up a memorial fund, created a support group that provided the surviving spouse with meals and social opportunities and provided the office with grief counselors and estate planning seminars.
People celebrate special events around here.
Insomniac has a long history of treating its employees well, and on the whole, they still continue to live up to that reputation after 20 years. The atmosphere is friendly and exceptionally welcoming; even brand new employees are treated with respect and given responsibility to complete important work.
What kind of perks and benefits are part of the employment package? What is the work-life balance like? Does the company appreciate hard work?
An average of 86 percent of Insomniac Games employees often or almost always find the company compensates them fairly, provides special and unique benefits, supports their work-life balance and shows genuine appreciation for their contributions. Another 10 percent reports they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 96 percent of employees in the Great Rewards category.
I've enjoyed two cruises as part of anniversaries with the company, and with my anniversaries was rewarded with additional vacation time and very generous travel vouchers. The bonus pool is in place to share profits with the employees, and they have a company match with the 401K.
COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS
Average salary and additional cash compensation for Production Support Technician
Average salary and additional cash compensation for Designer
401(k) match of employee's salary, up to 45% of an employee's contribution
Company-paid health coverage for employees
Up to 80% company-paid health coverage for dependents
Weekly hours at which part-timers receive health-care coverage
PERKS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER
- Free snacks during the day
- Free breakfast foods on a regular, daily basis
- Onsite package/mailing service
- Discount ticket sales
- Car wash
- Free beverages during the day
- Personal concierge service
- Massage therapy
- Fitness classes
- Convenience store
- Personal travel service
WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS
Holidays & vacation days after one year of employment
WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS
- Childcare Reimbursement During Business Travel
- Flexible Schedule (100% use it)
- Lactation Rooms
- Elder-care Resources
- Offsite Subsidized Child Care
I am able to take time off from work when I think it's necessary.
People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.
People are encouraged to do other things outside of work. Be that athletics, art or just playing other types of games. Lunch is a good time for this and you never feel like you shouldn't be doing it around the office. It makes for an extremely fun environment and helps with stress levels during busy times.
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS
- Dental care
- Prescription drug subsidy
- Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy or chiropractic
- Medical Care
- Vision care
- Mental health care
- Fertility treatments
ONSITE HEALTH BENEFITS
- Skin Cancer Screening
- Blood Pressure Screening
- Fitness Center
- Cholesterol Tests
- Flu Shots
What inspires employees' company spirit here? Do people stand by their teams' work? What impact do people have outside the organization?
An average of 90 percent of Insomniac Games employees report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company's reputation in the world. Another 6 percent report that they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 96 percent of employees in the Great Pride category.
Insomniac Games is dedicated to producing quality games for a diverse audience and gamers of all ages while still remaining an independent company. They've sold more than 44 million console video games worldwide and recently celebrated their 20-year company anniversary. One of their better-known franchises is the Spyro the Dragon series.
I'm proud to tell others I work here.
Amazing benefits. Incredibly proud to tell people I work at Insomniac. You can count on nearly everyone here to be as passionate, professional and skilled as the next person. Awesome place to work. Hard place to find a reason to leave.
Supporting the Community
- Up to 16 hours paid time to volunteer per employee per year
- $38,000 in philanthropic donations in the last year
- Insomniac Games' many community programs include a special emphasis on charities that support children. The company donated $10,000 to a Los Angeles YMCA youth program in the last year, fundraised for the Children's Hospital Network and provides regular donations to the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank. Employees donate time in addition to money, volunteering with the Miracle League to help disabled children play baseball.
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
We are trying hard to be a "green" company and also get involved in a lot of charity events.
How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?
An average of 86 percent of Insomniac Games employees say they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 11 percent sometimes has this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 97 percent of employees in the Great Communication category.
Insomniac Games operates at two locations and employs approximately 206 people in artistic, technical, support and managerial roles.
Insomniac Games takes many measures to make sure that avenues of communication are open, and 92 percent of team members describe management as approachable and easy to talk to. In addition, more than eight out of 10 employees say that management keeps them informed about important issues and that leaders provide straight answers to questions.
There ... seems to be full transparency here, which is really nice. There is open communication about what is going on and you never feel left in the dark. It is also very unique that the CEO is out and about talking with employees about their work and is very involved instead of [being] a behind-the-curtain business type.
What are managers' leadership strengths?
An average of 83 percent of Insomniac Games employees say their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care, are competent in their positions and provide clear directions and vision for the organization. Another 12 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 95 percent of employees in the Great Bosses category.
Insomniac Games employees widely appreciate the pride and warm, friendly atmosphere their leaders encourage at the company. Insomniacs believe that their management team is effective, egalitarian and highly ethical. The overwhelming majority of staffers (93 percent) say leaders are competent at running the business, and 80 percent feel their managers do a good job of assigning and coordinating people. More than eight out of 10 say that management delivers on its promises and that its actions match its words. In fact, a remarkable 95 percent of Insomniac Games employees say that managers are honest and ethical. In addition, Insomniacs paint a picture of a caring leadership team: 91 percent say that their managers show a genuine interest in them as people, not just employees.
Above all else, it's the honest, open and inclusive culture promoted by our CEO, Ted Price, that makes working here unique. In an organization of over 100 employees Ted knew my name within my first week of employment and makes a point of touching base with his staff, whether it's stopping by our desks, meeting in the kitchen for a quick chat or taking us out to lunch to make sure our questions and concerns are being addressed. That personal connection matters a great deal, and it establishes a basis for appreciation and respect that goes beyond monetary compensation.
Great Perks and Programs
- Training and Learning: Because Insomniac Games operates in a field that is always changing, it offers a multitude of ways for its team members to stay sharp. Insomniac Games offers unlimited paid days of conference attendance in order for employees to gain insight into such things as design methodologies and advances in technology. In addition, Insomniac Games provides department-specific training, setting up week-long classrooms for new software or tools, and invites key industry speakers to come and talk with relevant teams. Insomniac Games also has a Learning Management System, an online learning and training system that provides 24/7 access to videos and tutorials.
- Work-life Balance: Because of the often stressful nature of the video-game industry, Insomniac Games wants to make sure its team members feel comfortable leaving work at work. The company cuts features from their games if they feel they're being too ambitious, schedules project milestones in order to better space out work and improve work flow, has moved from a two-year to a three-year production schedule and encourages people to speak up if they feel their workload isn't balanced. Insomniac Games offers lunch-and-learn seminars on how to maintain work-life balance and reduce stress, and, importantly, sets an example from the top down by making sure the CEO doesn't stay late, therefore making other team members comfortable in leaving work at a decent hour, too.
- Diverse Workplace: Insomniac Games recognizes that the demographic profile in its industry tends to be mostly white males, and has taken steps to rectify that. The company continues to identify specific college programs in order to speak directly with students interested in joining the industry, and also participates in groups such as WIGI (Women in Games International) to grow specific demographics.
- Fun: Insomniac Games encourages camaraderie among its employees, and team members meet up outside of work for such activities as board-game groups and video-game tournaments. There are also basketball, dodgeball, volleyball and running teams. The company celebrates anniversaries with cruises and trips, plans special events to recognize employees' families and spouses and celebrates project milestones or periods of hard work with dinners, movies, team T-shirts, happy hours and studio-wide breakfasts.
- Charity: Insomniac Games is committed to giving back to the community. While its primary philanthropic activities focus on Starlight Children's Foundation, which supports families' and children's lives and health around the world, the company also donated $10,000 to an L.A. YMCA youth program, helped the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank, donated in trade to local law enforcement, completed a drive for shoes for the homeless, volunteered for the Miracle League to help disabled children play baseball and raised money for Children's Hospital Network.
Great Rated! collected feedback from Insomniac Games employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.
"There is so much about Insomniac that makes it a fantastic yet unusual place to work. We have this motto: 'The best idea doesn't care where it came from.' Everyone here can make a creative contribution, which is not normal for our industry. In addition, the level of talent we attract, along with the right personalities that we hire, have created this incredible environment for creatives to thrive in."
"The most unique thing about the company will be the owners of the company. They go out of their way just to talk and ask how is everything going, and stay to have a great conversation, and always say thank you for every thing you do. This is why I love working here. It makes me feel important."
"The sense of community and family, while still striving to put out great products and keep everyone on track and accountable. This is a fine balance that Insomniac handles well."
"The game industry tends to have a high level of passionate people who want to make the best game possible and Insomniac is a shining example of this. There is a mentality that doing our best work benefits all of us and we are encouraged to take risks or try something new if it could benefit the team. This doesn't always pan out, but there is no consequence for trying something new."
"Human resources department goes above and beyond to keep people motivated and feel taken care of. They monthly organize special lunches, contests and are responsive to ideas about activities."
"All three original owners still work here."
"The people here have a passion to do something great. People come to work with the desire to do things that haven't been done. Each day they want to raise the bar for what interactive entertainment can mean."
"It's one of the few independent developers remaining. Amazing benefits, great people and Ted Price is a strong and personable leader. This is a place where employees are encouraged to contribute ideas and we have a lot of creative control over the direction of our projects."
"Everyone gets treated the same, regardless of position or seniority. We all feel we are equals."
"They help you outside of work immensely. They've paid for my classes so I can get better at what I do. They've also helped my girlfriend who started her own restaurant and now Insomniac has them cater every so often. This would not happen at any of the places I've worked at previously."
"Whatever I have asked for to help me accomplish my job function they have provided in a timely manner (software licences, desk space amenities etc.). People are friendly and helpful. I feel that I have a support network if I need assistance and there definitely is a sense that we are all in this together and that 'what is best for the game' is in the forefront of every decision."
"This is by far the greatest place I have ever worked. I can't believe a studio like this exists in the gaming industry. Everyone who works here is encouraging, talented, knowledgeable, passionate and great to be around. You are really encouraged to own your craft in a way. It is really refreshing how great it is just coming to work."
How to Get Hired
We asked Insomniac Games for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.
What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?
While knowledge, skills and education play a role in each discipline, cultural fit can play an even bigger part at Insomniac. We're all about making great games and creating an incredible player experience. EVERYONE contributes to our games whether they are a designer, an artist, a programmer or even an accountant. You need to have a passion for what you do and not be afraid to speak up and share your ideas. One of our key tenets is that "great ideas can come from anyone." This is a culture of communication and collaboration and we like it when you have a voice! Oh, and we don't take ourselves too seriously, so being comfortable in a creative and humor-filled environment are also key to our culture fit.
What can prospective employees do to get your attention?
Well, one audio designer actually wrote us a song describing his love for our games and characters - that was pretty darn cool! Sure, a great reel or gameplay footage can be helpful to us in assessing your skills, but it's not the only way to impress. For recent grads, we love to see internships and pet projects that demonstrate you have tackled something on your own and can think and create independently. If you've worked in the industry for a while, what outside pet projects have you taken on that demonstrate your own passion? Do you mentor or teach? Do you write code and share it freely with the world? Any of these "extras" show us a bit more than just your resume.
Are there any unusual or especially rigorous steps of your hiring process that candidates should be aware of?
Most of our positions require a qualified candidate to take a test. These tests are typically for art, animation, audio, design or programming. These tests aren't a walk in the park and can take upwards of eight hours to complete. We do give candidates anywhere from one to two weeks to submit their completed test - after all, we know candidates have a life outside of the application process. In the end, no matter how much experience you have, these tests are designed to showcase a candidate's unique talent and level of familiarity with creative tools, programming and even creative thinking. This really helps us better understand a candidate's aptitude for the work, as a reel may include a collaboration to achieve the final results we see (i.e. a rigger created the skeleton that an animator used to animate).
Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?
Game development changes in the blink of an eye and so do our hot or difficult-to-fill positions. Right now, low-level programmers who work on the console hardware are in high demand (as is usually the case when a next-gen console hits the market) but by the time this question goes to print, that will probably change. Honestly, we're always on the lookout for rock stars and will gladly make a place for the future Insomniac who can't be passed up.
What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?
Easy! Check out our website, www.insomniacgames.com, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. We have several blogs, a community dedicated to each of our games and a development team that continually contributes to our R&D site where we share ideas and code. Have a specific question? You can always ask it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
||144Average number of applicants per opening
|5476Applicants in past year
||19Openings in past year
|42%New hires by employee referrals