2K's BioShock is just one of dozens of games to use Havok's 3D Physics tech over the years.
Late last week software giant Microsoft announced the acquisition of Irish middleware developer Havok from Intel for an undisclosed sum. Havok is best known for industry-leading 3D Physics middleware, but their portfolio also includes NPC AI simulation tools and an entire end-to-end game engine in the form of Havok Vision.
In the past Havok have partnered with some of the biggest names in gaming including EA, Ubisoft and Microsoft themselves, helping them bring to market award-winning titles from the Elder Scrolls, Assassin's Creed and Halo franchises (to name but a few). In their acquisition Microsoft have pledged to continue licensing Havok tools to development partners.
Following the deal Microsoft now has an impressive portfolio of development tools critical to the gaming industry including DirectX12, Visual Studio and Microsoft Azure. Microsoft will also be using Havok technologies to build on the work started with Crackdown 3 in implementing a cloud-based physics solution for games, offloading simulation workload from local hardware.
The standalone nature of physics middleware makes it unlikely that Havok's technologies will find their way into DirectX development strategies going forward (plus, competing solutions would likely protest rigorously), but it will be interesting to see if the change of ownership shakes up the scene.
Source: Microsoft Blog