On Friday October 2, 2015, Microsoft announced they had acquired the Havok physics video game company from Intel company. Havok physics engine is the most recent tool that Microsoft owns among other video game development tools like DirectX 12.
From Ireland, Havok began in 1998 by founders Hugh Reynolds and Steven Collins. Acquired by Intel in 2007 and again on Oct. 2 by Microsoft, Havok is known for providing game development tools that make realistic physics in video games across much of the entire video game industry.
The critically acclaimed video game Half life 2 used Havok to provide many of its physics based puzzles such as the gravity gun used to attract repel and place objects. The Game Portal, Valve’s spinoff sequel game to Half Life 2 used Havok as well. Super Smash Brothers Brawl used Havok to help provide its ragdoll physics to make attack and collision feel like they are happening under twisted laws of gravity.
Essentially, many companies have relied on Havok including Nintendo, Activision, Microsoft, and Bethesda.
Competition in the video game industry leads companies to purchase and acquire exclusive rights to software, game development tools and even video game characters. Fortunately, even if Microsoft wants to block others from using Havok, the Havok engine will still be available for other companies to use.
According to PC world,
“Microsoft will continue licensing Havok’s software to other companies as part of the [aquisition] deal, which is good news for those companies that rely on the engine to power their experiences.”
Microsoft had the following to say about their new ownership of Havok, according to the Microsoft Corporate Blog,
“Microsoft’s acquisition of Havok continues our tradition of empowering developers by providing them with the tools to unleash their creativity to the world. We will continue to innovate for the benefit of development partners. Part of this innovation will include building the most complete cloud service, which we’ve just started to show through games like ‘Crackdown 3.’ ”
Earlier this year at Gamescom 2015, Microsoft showed some impressive video game physics from Crackdown 3 that allow buildings and concrete to crumble upon impact and chip away from gunfire.
To see what the cloud service and Havok physics hype is all about, check out the Crackdown 3 demonstration video below from IGN:
Recently the experts often talk about how Microsoft’s Xbox One is far behind in sales compared to it’s rival Sony. However, Microsoft owns many development tools like Havok and the Windows operating system that most developers use to make Sony PlayStation 4 games. Perhaps, whatever financial loss they suffer from Xbox One, maybe they will recover by licensing their software (like Havok) to game developers.