If you've played a 3D game with any kind of simulated physics in the last decade, the odds are good that Havok had a hand in it. The 3D physics middleware company has helped you knock virtual objects off of shelves in more than 600 games (including Skyrim, Uncharted 3, Assassin's Creed Unity, to name a fraction of its reach), and now it has a new home: Microsoft.
Microsoft plans to put Havok, which it purchased from Intel, to work on building out its cloud computation platform for games. In other words, they're going to help make sure that the destructible buildings in Crackdown 3 online multiplayer fall down extra good, as well as helping out on other projects.
Don't worry, this doesn't mean that all non-Microsoft games will have to start gluing down their loose items: Havok will continue to license its development tools out to external developers, and now Microsoft will get a cut of those handsome licensing fees. I wouldn't expect too many changes to be noticeable from the consumer level… at least until Crackdown 3 comes out, and every Microsoft game thereafter uses the cloud to calculate mind-bogglingly detailed destruction.
Even Viva Pinata. Especially Viva Pinata. Crepe paper and confetti everywhere.
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