Have an offer for a SWE position in Microsoft Xbox group. L61, TC $180k.
I'm still quite green and wondering if this is a good move career wise.
I've read that SWE in the game industry is paid poor TC, which means poor talent and I'm concerned that will affect my career. When interviewing, almost everyone on my panel has been in the organization for >10 years, which is another bad sign. How does the larger tech community view SWEs working in the game industry?
I'm currently at Amazon but want to leave. So I have push factors.
- I don't understand. If you're working on console or building services, those skills translate to any SWE. "I've read that SWE in the game industry is paid poor TC", Xbox pays the same as the rest of the company. Your idea of SWE in gaming seems to be of game developers. Unless you're working in Studios as a game dev(where you may be paid less because that's the game dev industry), pretty much everything you said doesn't apply
- My perception is that the game industry works with outdated tech stacks, but they do impressive things with what they have.
I think overall it doesn't look great on a resume, but it doesn't have to look bad. A lot of it depends on the success of your team and the technologies you use.
- I would say many game studios ignore performance optimization in favor of faster content creation pipelines (eg; Bethesda game engine is ancient, buggy, ect..). Hell some console games even have crap performance on the baseline consoles -eg; not much QA on baseline versions of ps4/Xbox one.Feb 82
- Valve still uses PHP for their webstack. At Epic we lag behind a little in some areas, but are pretty cutting edge on game engine features, rendering, and also some language and scripting areas. Clearly from Fortnite we are executing scale well with infra, but there is a ton I'd like to change internally. Game servers and services are a very specialized problem6d0
- SendGrid girvssigame programming is much harder than writing stupid react apps or whatever flavor of the month framework
- Indeed on 🔥As others mentioned already, Microsoft is not a 'gaming company', your comp and resume would be fine
- Why not just opt to take a more traditional SWE role then?
My very first SWE job put me on a path of specialization within SWE that I couldn’t change the narrative of now (not game development, btw). I wouldn’t change it, since I’m happy with it — but really, think about this.
People might view you as a “game development SWE” once you choose your next gig. Some may not. But be thoughtful in your choice. Good luck!Feb 71
- Ok... Are you salty even after leaving AMZN? Sorry, but passion is BS and is used to exploit people to pay low TC. Thats why many articles I read about game studios pay low TC. Passion right? Can you eat passion? Will passion pay your bills?
I'm joining a team to do kick-ass work and high impact. Or maybe to use your lingo my passion is to overdeliver and grow TC.Feb 83
- I didn’t leave amazon.
I left Xbox.
I left when it got taken over by Sinovsky’s douchewads from Windows or Office who saw it as an opportunity to advance their career and their TC and couldn’t care less about games after we killed it with the 360. It’s over now but the damage is done. The steaming pile of shit that is the XBONE is the result. XBONE and the PR catastrophe around it is what happens when people who don’t have any passion for the space run the show. Given your TC, I most likely spent more time in Xbox than you had in your whole career and got rewarded well for it. So yeah passion pays the bills. Handsomely at that. Go work in windows if you want to grow TC and have “High impact synergies”.
- Not necessarily. Lots of ML, k8s, AR tech. Lots of transferrable skills, not to mention problem solving, general programming skills and core engineering skills like communication, empathy, driving consensus, task management. There are good tech companies where you can grow and there are bad ones where you stagnate. The same is true of gaming studios and companies to about the same degree from my experience.3d0
- Some of these comments are true some are false. Source, was game dev for many years plus still follow game developers conference.
Game developers and software engineers are the same. The only people who hate on game devs are those who don’t understand it. Just like any piece of software game developers aka software engineers who work on soft real time systems have many parts that are hard and easy.
Some of the most sophisticated algorithms come from gaming tech, graphics, AI, networking, memory management, etc. these can be applied back into “non-game” apps like AR, VR, distributed systems, real time systems.
You can also take “non-game” tech and apply them to the game world. Most games have a backend now and require dev ops too.
Google, Apple, Facebook are all clamoring for game devs who know how to do real time 3D systems.
Sure, the common guy who makes flappy bird in unity isn’t all that great but neither is the guy who “does” angular or react to make a simple website.
I understand what the Op is saying. Most of the time recruiters really fail in this area. I have encountered recruiters who have discounted my engine development at game studios as not true software. Which really bites.
Op, I think Xbox division is probably a worthwhile move but in the end it’s about what you can learn and take away from it. You can have amazon to your name but if all you do there is config files in yaml, you are not better off.
PS. Would not want to go back to a games studio. They have too many layoffs.
- Stripe commonerDepends on what you build. If youre working on a game engine or anything with heavy performance requirements you will learn a lot!!! It's like dog years.
Game engines are some of the most sophisticated pieces of software that use some of the most mind-blowing tricks to go fast.
It is well known that the people who work on games go through crunch. Learn about that.
Other than that I'm sure it's fun.
(Disclaimer: Never been in the Game Dev industry)
- Worked with several ex-game devs. They’re generally rock stars. They may not be up to date with the trend of the week (not really a bad thing). They tend to have great engineering fundamentals, are blazing fast learners, a better understanding of what the code is actually doing doing down to the hardware level, & can code circles around non-game devs.
If I were you I’d be more worried about failing in the game industry. There’s less process & protection, you will be hazed if you break the build. No work life balance.
- Nvidia that doesn't make sense. How can you claim game devs are better than non game devs. Best game devs are in MSFT. Best non game devs are in Google. You honestly tell me Google caliber is lower than MSFT? Also top tier non game dev is FAANG, no other game company besides MSFT (which is not a game company) can even compete close to FAANG TC level.
- It makes sense if you’ve worked with game devs. These guys are passionate about programming. If I have two candidates a principal from google & a senior programmer from a game studio (doesn’t even have to be Microsoft). I’m taking the senior programmer. From my experience he’ll produce better, faster, more reliable architecture, system designs, & code then the googler, he’ll also have less ego.
- GE / EngJwBstrdmoreGame programming is hard. It's interesting they pay less then enterprise dev, which is simple. However, we have to deal with a tremendous amount of bullshit.
- GE kapnkrunchJust my experience I went into gaming QA to development right after graduating from college. Went from loving games to completely hating them. After 4-year hiatus I became a gamer again, not professional but casual. The companies I worked for paid peanuts, long hours and a lot of politics. Quitting the game industry was the best career I made.
- Sony kHtg85Well, working in game development is different than working in the console business. I hope you understand the difference between those. Working on the consoles, you are still working on a lot of the cutting edge technologies in UI development as well as services. If I were you, I would first get an idea on That. Game development is a completely different business and possibly done in a different group than Xbox
- Amazon gDVc56If you are at Microsoft, then the compensation should be better and is similar to other SWE in Microsoft. That's the benefit of joining Microsoft as opposed to other gaming companies.
If you have a passion for gaming, I would say go for it, gaming group SWE positions in large non game oriented company like Microsoft are highly coveted. If you got an offer you should seriously consider it, if you work on services what they do in principles is no different from other services engineering jobs out there. If you are working on actual games, then join only if you want to work in this space, it would be a good job that gets your foot in the door for gaming and again as a whole is highly competitive, but coveted industry.
Make sure you are passionate about gaming and game development, otherwise the work and hours might burn you out - even though it is not as bad at Microsoft it would still have it's high pressure moments when you need to work long hours.
- OP, sorry, long thread, didn't read it all. Are you currently in Amazon Gaming? If not, why don't you try with us first? Surely you'll be able to jump right in as an internal.
- OP can you come back and clarifyyyyyy lol. There’s a YUGE difference / context to your question if this was an Xbox engineering position vs in a games studio. If the former 10/10 would advise to highly consider.
The engineering org. Is the same as any other org/services. People have had no problem moving to other FANG/non fang companies from the gaming org.
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- Amazon icedTGame industry is different from working on games. If you are working on xbox device software, building or scaling services like gaming network or payment etc., it's really no different. Also there is a difference between working on a AAA vs. mobile/web game (core game, mechanics etc.). Sadly, the latter does have poor perception but msft branding should help there.
- When I was graduating, a 10 year tenure was considered a good thing. It used to mean that people enjoy working there and were seeing enough growth to stay on. Now it's a red flag? How does company get anything done if everyone keeps leaving?
- Based on blind, people change jobs at least once every 4 years after the RSU cliff. So people who stay are either great performers or can't leave. And considering so many places underpay existing employees...
If a group is made of up employees who worked at 2-4 diff tech companies, don't you think that's more impressive?
- No it is not.Just because someone has moved around different places and LeetCoded their ass off doesn’t tell you anything about what kind of an employee he/she is.Also as you grow older if you have families moving around like this is nuts.So older folks will tend to stick around.
- My first few companies are gaming companies. The work hours are not as bad as many people are saying, actually it was even better wlb than Uber. But I kind of hated it. Yes you work with a lot more mediocre people. Engineers are not the star in gaming companies, designers are. It’s also harder to get top talents because pay is usually lower than market for software engineers so bar is low.
- US Bank / FinanceLkYl04moreAs a gamer I just hope you do this and stop pushing AAA title dog shit to me. Gaming started my dive into math and I love it
- Uber / Englil BlindFor basic app dev stuff, game devs tend to be pretty weak, though some people manage to do both very well. Lua scripts and Scene graphs don’t directly transfer that well to website and mobile apps and database scaling.
Internet companies deal more in open source protocols and networking and making things super space/time efficient.
- New / EngXorgatronI don't think ten year tenure is a concerning factor here. I'm in AAA dev as well and there are quite a few people at my studio who have been here for that long. The industry is booming in my location and has been for a fairly long time so it is definitely not for lack of opportunities that they stay.
- Microsoft BlueScreenIs the position on the console team? Platform? XCloud? GamePass? Studios? What is the specific team or HM?
Yes, expect long hours, continuous shipping, and anything that would prevent a daily build from going to a Flight Audience means fire drill, no matter if it’s an evening or weekend.
The majority of the people on the team are either gamers or love the gaming platform. Most aren’t there to just do a job and go home.
Perks: you get 1 of each Microsoft Branded game for free, a free yearly sub to Gold and GamePass, and can usually be a part of the internal testing efforts on new consoles—using then from the comforts of your couch at home.