Activision Buys Game Studio Proletariat To Expand ‘World of Warcraft’ Staff

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Xbox\u2019s various game developers it now owns: Activision, Blizzard and King.
Courtesy of Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard intends to acquire Proletariat, a Boston-based game studio that developed the wizard-themed battle royale game “Spellbreak.”


VentureBeat first reported that the Santa Monica-based publisher was exploring a purchase, noting its ongoing mission to expand the staff working on Blizzard’s hit massively multiplayer online game “World of Warcraft,” which launched in 2004.

Proletariat’s team of roughly 100 people will be merged into Activision’s “World of Warcraft” team to work on its upcoming expansion game. Though there’s no release date as yet for the title, “World of Warcraft: Dragonflight” is expected to debut before the end of this year.

Activision did not immediately return a request for comment. Financial terms of the deal were not available.

This Proletariat deal is Activision's latest push to consolidate its family tree by folding its subsidiary companies in under the Blizzard banner. More than 15 years after it bought out New York-based game developer Vicarious Visions, Activision merged the business into its own last year, ensuring that the studio wouldn’t work on anything but Blizzard titles.

The deal could also have implications for workers at Activision who have looked to unionize. One subsidiary of Activision, Wisconsin-based Raven Software, cast a majority vote to establish its Game Workers Alliance—backed by the nationwide Communications Workers of America union—in May.

Until recently, Activision has remained largely anti-union in the face of its employees organizing—but it could soon not have much of a say in the matter once it finalizes its $69 billion sale to Microsoft, which said publicly it would maintain a “neutral approach” and wouldn’t stand in the way if more employees at Activision expressed interest in unionizing after the deal closes.

Each individual studio under the Activision umbrella would need to have a majority vote in favor of unionizing to join the GWA. Now, Proletariat’s workforce—which, somewhat ironically given its name, isn’t unionized—is another that could make such a decision leading up to the Microsoft deal’s expected closing in 2023.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Rivian Q2 Earnings Are a Much-Needed Nothing Burger

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Rivian R1S at a charging station in the desert.
Rivian's Q2 numbers are delightfully boring.

Rivian, the fledgling electric vehicle startup in Irvine, CA, released its Q2 earnings yesterday. I’m happy to report they’re pretty boring! There were no big surprises from RJ Scaringe’s EV hopeful, but here are the report highlights:

  • ~$15 billion of cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash as of June 30 2022.
  • 98,000 net R1 preorders
  • Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans
  • Rivian has produced 8k vehicles so far
  • The company is still on pace to deliver 25,000 vehicles in 2022
  • -Actual revenue was $364 million.
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