Microsoft announced that it had purchased Havok and its 3D physics middleware portfolio from CPU manufacturer Intel, in a message posted to its corporate blog this morning.
According to the synopsis posted on Havok's official site, "Havok Physics offers the fastest, most robust collision detection and physical simulation technology available, which is why it has become the gold standard within the games industry and has been used by leading game developers in over 400 launched titles and many more in development." Havok was an independent company when Intel purchased it in 2007, at which time it became Intel's wholly-owned subsidiary.
Havok has been used by virtually every major publisher for their games, including direct competitors to Microsoft's Xbox consoles. However, Microsoft stated that they were committed to maintaining license availability and support to other developers, while adding more Havok support to its game development platform Visual Studio (which is in turn used for cross-platform development, including PlayStation platforms), its graphics API DirectX12 and the Azure cloud computing platform.
"Microsoft's acquisition of Havok continues our tradition of empowering developers by providing them with the tools to unleash their creativity to the world," Microsoft said. "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.'"