What do you think of when you hear the words service awards? Some military commendation? Maybe a nice little year-end cash bonus or a hearty handshake? Well, whatever you’re thinking of, it probably isn’t any of the awards below. Some gaming companies offer their employees some pretty sweet loot for having been with the company for a long time.
Not all companies do this of course – we couldn’t find anything about EA doing it for example – but that is just what you might expect from a company that was voted the worst company to work for twice. And the company that all but ruined Star Wars games for us.
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Trophies are neat aren’t they? They satisfy our urge to hoard and collect useless things (we all have that, admit it) while also rewarding us for something we’ve done. It’s the reason we love achievement systems, unlockable rewards and more so much – getting that at work when you’re already involved in making games makes it all the better.
BioWare takes reward-trophies literally: After a certain number of years at the company, employees get actual trophies. These cannot be purchased anywhere, so the only way to get them is by working for them.
For five years of service, employees get Varric, a surface dwarf from Dragon’s Age:
For ten years, they get a statue of Urdnot Wrex, a Mass Effect character:
For 15 years, they get to take home the one and only Commander Shepard (female):
And, after 20 years, they are awarded the High Dragon from Dragon’s Age:
Working at Blizzard gets you a reward faster than at BioWare – if you hang around, the rewards are cooler too. Sure, a trophy is nice, but how about some weapons? That’s right, Blizzard will give you different kinds of weapons as part of your long service award.
If after seeing these you’re not already scouring for vacancies, you need to think long and hard about your life choices.
After 2 years at Blizzard, you get a dedicated Stein:
Not the most practical of gifts, we admit, so how about the 5 year award? A sword:
After 10 years, you get a shield – you know, to round off that lonely sword on your wall:
After 15 years of service, you get a ring – not just any ring either, but a customised version, depending on whether you’re a man or woman:
After 20 years of service, you are presented with the pinnacle of all rewards – a helm. Remember, at this point you are already decked out with sword, shield, ring and even a cool cup:
The 25 year service award has yet to be announced, but short of a living horse adorned with war jewels, we don’t see how they could possibly top this. Maybe if they gave out a complete suit of armour? No, that just doesn’t seem extravagant enough for these guys.
Arguably, after seeing Blizzard’s rewards, no other company need even try to impress us. Sony goes a totally different route with their rewards – instead of giving us things to put on our mantle, they hold an event for long-service employees.
This event includes a stay in a five star hotel, a reception with champagne and canapes, a three course dinner with entertainment, a live band and a casino evening, all expenses paid. Is it a sword? No. Is it cool? Absolutely. Previous attendees have told some pretty cool stories – apparently these events, held every year, are pretty exciting to attend.
The makers of the PlayStation really go all out for the awards…sadly they are only available if you’ve been there for 20, 25, 30 and 35 years. Still pretty neat of them though!
Honourable Mention: Charlie Ayers’ story
Now, this company isn’t exactly a game company per se, but the story is so amazing, it deserved to be included. Charlie Ayers was a cafeteria chef looking for a change of pace. He accepted an offer from a small start-up that offered him some shares in the company along with a modest salary. It was actually a step down, payment-wise for him, but he liked the atmosphere and people so much, he agreed to it.
He worked for them for several years, as their cafeteria chef, and after about 10 years… well, nearly a decade later, Charlie Ayers, the 53rd person Google ever hired was some $26 million dollars richer. The stocks he had been given along with his modest salary had exploded in value, and he as well as several other employees became millionaires.
It wasn’t exactly overnight, but the rocket to success certainly left Charlie better off. If that’s not a service award, then we don’t know what is. Congrats Charlie.