Microsoft acquires physics middleware creator Havok

microsoft buys havok crash

Microsoft has acquired middleware developer Havok, creator of flexible physics software that powers many popular games for consoles and PCs.

The purchase makes Havok a part of Microsoft’s suite of development software, giving licensed developers access to the middleware alongside other key game-creation components for Windows platforms including DirectX 12, Visual Studio, and Microsoft Azure.

Founded in 1998, Havok is known primarily for its middleware suite, which includes the Havok Physics game engine component. Havok Physics offers a reusable, real-time approach to collision detection and other physics-driven elements at the core of many 3D games, including “ragdoll” physics that manifest when in-game characters are killed, knocked out, or otherwise tossed around limply.

Games that use Havok Physics include Mortal Kombat X, The Last of Us, Dota 2, Destiny, the Dark Souls series, and the Assassin’s Creed series. Havok’s middleware suite also includes related components like Havok Animation Studio, Havok Cloth, and Havok Destruction.

Microsoft purchased Havok from Intel, who previously acquired the company in 2007. Following the Microsoft buyout, Havok notes that it “will continue to work with developers to create great games experiences, and continue to license Havok’s development tools to third party partners.”

“Havok is a fantastic technology supplier in the games industry and the leading real time physics creator,” the companies stated in a joint press release. “We saw an opportunity to partner together to deliver great experiences for our fans.”

“Microsoft’s acquisition of Havok continues our tradition of empowering developers by providing them with the tools to unleash their creativity to the world,” the statement continues. “We will continue to innovate for the benefit of development partners.”

The purchase bolsters Microsoft’s current focus on cloud-powered processing for its games. The companies noted that the Havok middleware plays a crucial role in the development of the upcoming Xbox One open-world action game Crackdown 3, which uses cloud processing to render real-time destructible environments in its online multiplayer component.