Microsoft has purchased Havok. If that name looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve played a video game in the past 15 years.
Havok is a technology company known for their middleware physics engine, which has been used in all kinds of games from Halo to Dark Souls and countless games in between across PC and just about every console since the PlayStation 2. It’s a tool that lets developers quickly simulate physics without having to reinvent the technology themselves. For a long time, Havok was owned by processor manufacturer Intel.
Now Microsoft has picked up the tech. Don’t worry, though – they’ll continue to license the it to companies like Sony and Nintendo. They say as much in the announcement, and there’s no sense in leaving money on the table.
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…
…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.
What’s likely going on is that Microsoft wants to turn the system that drives Crackdown 3 into something they can license – a cloud-based aspect of Havok, or something like that. You can use the plain Havok engine in your game, or you can let the cloud do the processing and get some truly impressive destruction going in your game. Though that means that more and more games will have either always-online requirements or they’ll have separate on and offline components with wildly different physics powering them.
The demo below gives a basic idea of what a different the cloud can make: