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In a surprise move, Microsoft has announced that they have purchased the Havok division, complete with the entire team of engineers, and all of the IP relating to Havok and the Havok engine. The company purchased the division from Intel for an undisclosed sum, but they have yet to elaborate on why they are making this move. Hit the jump for the press release and some initial thoughts.

Press Release

Today, we are proud to announce that Microsoft has acquired Havok, the leading provider of 3D physics, from Intel.

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. 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 is an amazing technology supplier in the games industry and the leading real-time physics creator. We saw an opportunity to acquire Havok to deliver great experiences for our fans. Throughout the company’s history, they’ve partnered with Activision, EA, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and many others to create more than 600 games including Halo, Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Destiny, Dark Souls and The Elder Scrolls.

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.”

Havok shares Microsoft’s vision for empowering people to create worlds and experiences that have never been seen before, and we look forward to sharing more of this vision in the near future.

This is an interesting turn of events, to be sure. Havok’s software and tools plays a big role in game development for a great many titles, and the physics engines that Havok powers are almost all CPU-driven. This would be an interesting addition, say, to an API like DirectX 12. It would be a boon for Microsoft’s API, which will power almost every game found on the PC for the near future, as well as for the Xbox One.

There are also particular parts of Havok’s toolset that would be useful if integrated in to DirectX 12. Havok doesn’t just do physics, they also have the Havok animation studio at their disposal, as well as tools like Havok Cloth, Havok Destruction, Havok AI, Havok Script, and Havok Vision, a game engine that Havok acquired back in 2011. If Microsoft ever wanted to offer a complete middleware solution to developers entering or already inside the ID@Xbox program, this would be a great way to do it, especially if there’s deep integration with DirectX 12 on the table for no extra trouble.

Will this be a threat to Sony? Unlikely. Although Havok’s software does get used in a lot of games on Sony’s platforms, it should be business as usual even though the acquisition is now complete. Microsoft, at least the new Microsoft, doesn’t try to burn down bridges that they can benefit from with their partners, and they don’t view Sony as the enemy either. This should be interesting to watch.

Source: Microsoft Blog

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