Microsoft Acquires Havok 3D Physics Tech From Intel

Microsoft snaps up Intel's video game engine company in a big expansion of its software development empire.

Microsoft buys Havok

Microsoft announced its acquisition of Havok, a middleware software provider specializing in 3D physics for video games, from Intel.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"As we welcome Havok to the Microsoft family, we will continue to work with developers to create great gaming experiences, and continue to license Havok's development tools to partners," stated Microsoft in an Oct. 2 post on the Redmond, Wash., company's corporate blog. "We believe that Havok is a fantastic addition to Microsoft's existing tools and platform components for developers, including DirectX 12, Visual Studio and Microsoft Azure."

Havok's cross-platform technology has featured in over 600 video games, including Microsoft's own Halo game series. The company has also partnered with rivals Sony and Nintendo, as well as major publishers, including Activision, Electronic Arts (EA) and Ubisoft.

Ireland-based Havok's handiwork can also be seen on the big screen. "Havok's products have also been used to drive special effects in movies such as X-Men First Class, World War Z, Harry Potter, James Bond, and The Matrix," according to the company's Website.

Havok has also had some success on the small screen. The company was awarded a Technology and Engineering Emmy Award in 2008 for physics engines by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

For Microsoft, the buy helps set the stage for virtual, cloud-powered worlds.

"We will continue to innovate for the benefit of development partners," stated Microsoft. "Part of this innovation will include building the most complete cloud service, which we've just started to show through games like Crackdown 3."

Backed by Azure, Crackdown 3 is an upcoming title from Microsoft Studios. The ambitious game for Xbox One will place gamers in expansive, fully-destructible environments. The game's rendering and physics calculations in the resource-intensive multiplayer mode will be aided by Azure's cloud servers.

Havok, too, likes to deal in destruction.

The game engine specialist's toolset includes Havok Destruction, which "gives the game artist total control over the simulation, drastically reducing the production time and cost of creating large numbers of believable destructible game objects," according to an online product overview. "Havok Destruction can create a completely new gameplay experience by giving additional believability to structural mechanics, graphical effects and game-level design."

The Havok deal is the latest video game-related acquisitions by Microsoft. Last year, the company made headlines by acquiring Mojang, maker of the popular Minecraft game, for a whopping $2.5 billion.

"Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, in a Sept. 15, 2014, statement. "Minecraft is more than a great game franchise—it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...