Intel wreaks Havok for $110M

Silicon Valley chipmaker scoops up Irish developer of ubiquitous physics engine for a reportedly princely sum.


Over the weekend, Silicon Valley giant Intel announced its latest acquisition. The deal, however, wasn't for a new chipmaking unit or the rumored purchase of graphics-card-maker Nvidia. Instead, Intel bought Havok, the Irish developer of the widely used physics engine of the same name.

"Havok is a proven leader in physics technology for gaming and digital content, and will become a key element of Intel's visual computing and graphics efforts," said Renee James, an Intel vice president and general manager of its Software and Solutions Group, in a statement. James said that the tech giant would allow the middleware maker to conduct "business as usual" via a hands-off management approach.

[UPDATE] The financial terms of Intel's buyout of Havok were not initially disclosed. However, Reuters reports that Irish venture capital firm TVC Holdings estimated the deal's value at around $110 million. On Monday, TVC agreed to sell its 27 percent stake in Havok for about $21 million.

Based in Dublin, Havok has been crafting digital effects and game-physics middleware for nine years, expanding its operations to San Francisco, San Antonio, Stockholm, Calcutta, Munich, and Tokyo. Its technology can be found in dozens of games, including BioShock, Stranglehold, Half Life 2, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Crackdown, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, MotorStorm, and the forthcoming Halo 3. Films, such as The Matrix, Troy, and Poseidon, have also used Havok tech.

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Avatar image for mydasx

"lord-of-gamers lol - sometimes i wonder where the money comes from lol" Intel did 35 billion last year. (this is not including their subsidaries and VC companies) "cybrcatter I disagree with most of the previous assumptions made. First, the concept of separate PPU hardware is not going to materialize much further than the PhysX unit. This is due to the fact the new and later DX10 cards have multiple scalable and programmable processors that are already optimized, and will become further optimized for physics. Economically, buying extra hardware for your PC is unrealistic, inefficient, and a waste of money." Let us not forget that intel is a number 1 producer of motherboards. My guess is we will see physics chips onboard. They will likely offer them on cards as well for you amd fanbois. "I just prefer legitimate and intense competition between Intel and AMD that give me ultra fast, and affordable hardware." Ummm, AMD owns ATI.

Avatar image for mydasx

"snarple_basic Umm they only own 27 percent, that doesn't mean anything other then them using the technology and getting some profits from havok. That doesn't mean they control what havok does, not with 27 percent." Ummmm, they bought the whole company. 100 percent. They are estimating the buy out at 110 million based on the 27 percent for 21 million.

Avatar image for mydasx

next stop physics chips...

Avatar image for jaguarman1234

great, now hollyweird is going to try to take credit for the havok engine, saying that it was created to power movie special effects

Avatar image for stuckboy

Hopefully this means that Havok physics will be super optimised for intel processors in the future. It's pretty damn fast already, but there is always room for improvement, and when things do improve, new and better things become possible.

Avatar image for Hameyadea

2 things: A. When will Intel buy nVidia? AMD bought ATI. B. Havok was used in films? O_O Well... I guess it's true that you learn something new everyday... LOL.

Avatar image for Mr_duong

wow i didnt know havok physics were in movies lol

Avatar image for grimreaper91

very interesting i personally like AMD processors over Intel but lets hope Intel makes good use of the company which they probaly will

Avatar image for emerald101

Havok does make the best geo-moding and physics.

Avatar image for SlawekAB

i have a feeling that all of the upcoming games are going to be GOOD now that intel bought havoc i can't wait to see what they going to do with the technology now that they own it

Avatar image for cevic

Wow this is a huge news, hopefully Intel will integrated PPU to their CPU in someday. And sadly, maybe the current high-end PC will be useless in gaming world for next 2 years... Good for gaming future but bad for current system...

Avatar image for Canitbe

Well, rumor has it tthe industry has been looking for new ways to take advantage of multiple cores.This should (in a sense) allow them to customize their next processor or chipset to offer a sudo version of hardware physics built in. If you look at the amount of man hours they put in at Crytek in trying to assist offloading physics to one of the cores, this move makes sense. In a sense, it's no different then the route AMD is taking with it's Fusion chipset.The only difference being AMD is going for graphics inclusion on it's processor die. Either way, at the end of the day, it's business as usual.

Avatar image for Staryoshi87

Intel has proven that expansive R&D pwns nubs with they're amazing C2D architecture, I can't wait to see what Havok can do with deeper pockets. Kudos to Intel.

Avatar image for matrixman2k

Now if only intel spend some of its cash or allow havoc to use some cash for further R&D then we might be seeing something extraordinary in the future as they make breakthroughs and so on. If it also incorporate some additional software support for intels own integrated graphics - that could only be a added bonus. I'm not into this 4 graphics card in one system thing, waste of WATTs if you ask me and bad for the environment, think global warming. While people like intel and AMD are always trying to cut power usage - Nvidia and ATi are in the stone age era. They should have been trying to incorporate multicores in 1 gpu resulting in 1 graphics card. Also i should have been able to connect my HDMI into the pc and using the control panel adjust things and have a better output to my HDTV. Something like this would be useful when no games are being played and also give a reason to connect the PC to TV. Imagine the improvements to PS3/360 games the HDTVs already offer some sort of processing but limited due to cost probably the pcs modern GPUs should be very powerful. There might be a tiny lag.

Avatar image for GrimBee

cybrcatter I can see what you mean by saying that PhysX cards are a waste of resources when people aren't willing to put MORE stuff in their PC for more costs. Which is why I think Intel have procured Havok. PhysX cards aren't going to be the standard (I too reckon that its only for the serious nerd), and I believe that Intel have this idea aswell. Which is probably why they have got Havok, so they can brand their own chips with a built-in PhysX chip inside whatever they have. All Intel need to do is produce an industry standard CPU - so how can they do that with AMD yapping at their heels? Well - quite simply they put Havok (most widely used and recognised physics engine) under their belt, and a built in chip with runs whatever havok needs - as standard. Be it an Intel-specific motherboard with built-in physics chip. It is most probable that wherever Intel go, so does Havok. And in any gamers mind, people are going to soon move with Intel. Thats how you create an industry standard CPU - If AMD acquired Havok what would AMD do? Probably put the havok-equipped chip in all their radeon cards, or put them in a new processor setup, or have them built into all AMD motherboards - as standard. If you secure something so widely used as Havok - alot of people and industries will follow. So this could very well mean the introduction to PhysX cards (in different forms) as standard instead of an optional extra. DirectX10 - whilst being capable enough for the operations of physics - you really do need an awesome PC which has ALL of its hardware working on everything. PC's in their majority do not always have quad cpus, loads of ram or the latest SLI card. I reckon that Intel are going to include PhysX chips as standard - so hopefully this will keep people on an even level. So to speak. I mean, alot of PC's can run half life 2 perfectly well. But when it comes to lots of physics the PC can be overloaded. I imagine that Intel will make physics processing something that developers don't have to worry about because if it DOES become standard - developers can put in MORE physics based stuff, and concentrate on how the game is rendered. If peoples PC's come with a physx chip as standard, at least everyone can at least enjoy how things move. And you would then buy a high-end card for the pretty visuals. I reckon its all about ironing out the wavey PC market. Because now we are getting this split-divide between people who can play new games on a pc, and people who just cant get a game to run. Lets just say that all pc's now will have dx10 cards as standard. You will still come into alot of slowdown as more and more games become more physics orientated. Lowering settings of physics can seriously ruin the gameplay for future games which rely on a physics engine as a crucial part of the gameplay. Physics are going to become much more complex as the industry evolves, and I doubt that people will want to upgrade their entire PC just to make a game stop being so jumpy when action kicks in. If Physics are dealt with, as standard. You could theoretically have a bare-bones dx10 card (not outputting HD or high-res textures or shadows) but your PC will at least play the game how its meant to be played as the physics will already be catered for by Intel. Then, upgrades will only then be limited to what floats your boat - be it high res shadows and textures or whatever. The idea of physics in games is that things can be inpredictable and exciting. And it can basically flesh out a very simple idea into a very awesome one. Physics are not used quite enough in games today. And not even the latest cards can handle masses of physics calculations. If a game becomes so reliant on physics, where do the people stand who have not got these high-end cards? their entire pc wouldn't be able to cope with calculations like that, even if you turned the settings off. And if a game is so reliant on physics, then how can you turn physics to OFF? Physics in a game isn't really an optional extra anymore. Ragdoll deaths are nice, but sooner or later that stuff will be as standard. And when things get complex, it beats the heck out of any system setup. If physics are dealt with as standard, then basically all you would need to worry about is how pretty you want your game to run. Of course you will need ram and a good gpu to render stuff well. But at least, as standard you can play the game and successfully run it. I think its all going to be about making PC's easier to deal with when it comes to gaming. If intel does do what I think they are going to do - then it gives them the sure-fire advantage of being the first people to say "your game WILL run on our chips, as standard". Personally, Im fed up with some games not running on my pc for some spec reason or whatever. If everything is run by seperate cores or on a different built-in chip by Intel - then it makes gaming on the PC that bit more simpler. Well, thats what I think its all about. Diss me if you like :D

Avatar image for matty_sen

nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo if havoks gone a lot of gmes wont have physics

Avatar image for Farzan777

Looks like a good plan

Avatar image for Nxss-effa-sim

Sound like a solid business plan to me, all the better for the gamers.

Avatar image for snarple_basic

Umm they only own 27 percent, that doesn't mean anything other then them using the technology and getting some profits from havok. That doesn't mean they control what havok does, not with 27 percent.

Avatar image for okassar

That's a good move for intel,I think it adds mor epotential to the gaming industry too.Bringing Intel further into the gaming industry cold never be's a pretty beastly company.

Avatar image for ebonyflame

I envision new mobo's with integrated physics processors, SLI enabled of course, ready for the next generagtion of multicore CPU's from intel. Talk about getting a leg up on the competition. Although with AMD purchasing ATI earlier, the next generation of computer devices is sure to be remarkable, especially desktop computers. Imagine 4 & 8 core (liquid cooled) processors as the industry standard in the next 3 years, NVIDIA & ATI cards clocking in at 2 GHZ and more. I see Intel motherboards with built in Havok technology awaiting a GPU, ATI boards shipping with the option of GPU's made specifically for their boards. Glorious times indeed.

Avatar image for lord-of-gamers

lol - sometimes i wonder where the money comes from lol but seriously this could tip the tables on everybody's thoughts - we all thought there would be a joint ppu/gpu sometime in the future - what about a cpu/ppu? interesting stuff really

Avatar image for nobeaner

Well lets hope they stick with this plan. I don't think it's as bad a move as when Intel tried to diversify by going into the Home PC accessory market. Intel home PC accessories = Bye Bye Craig Barrett.

Avatar image for TMSKILZ

That's kool, but i'll stick w/ AMD & UE3 & Quake engines.

Avatar image for ebookerd1

Smart plan I expect Intel stock to sky rocket with this future investment. Bravo!!!

Avatar image for darkchaostitan

Wise discision, they're probaly optimizing themselves for Halo3 on the PC if they get themselves set, they'll just rake it in.

Avatar image for jaredcrazy3232

GASP!!!! intel is maybe possibly getting serious about gaming chips?!?!?!... ah w/e if they will be priced like their CPUs then who cares it's cheaper getting and ATI or Nvidia....

Avatar image for MichaeltheCM

wow! so i guess we'll be seeing Intel now in games

Avatar image for K1nG_Gr4H4m

I hope they'll make it easier to get their physics SDK without having to talk to their sales people and give them a big check.

Avatar image for demollyon

Damn you Intel.

Avatar image for 8NP4iN

didn´t know THe Matrix used havok tech... nice :) guess this means INTEL will have better CPU´s? and i hope they keep licensing the tech for upcoming games!

Avatar image for cybrcatter

I disagree with most of the previous assumptions made. First, the concept of separate PPU hardware is not going to materialize much further than the PhysX unit. This is due to the fact the new and later DX10 cards have multiple scalable and programmable processors that are already optimized, and will become further optimized for physics. Economically, buying extra hardware for your PC is unrealistic, inefficient, and a waste of money. Second, while this may lead to a slight collaboration between Intel chips and its soon to be Havok division, ie. better hardware in its integrated graphics line for low end PCs etc., I think the bang Intel is going to get for its buck will be in the form Havok-physics powered games that will all be optimized to run on Intel CPUs. Think of all of those 'cheating' drivers that were released by ATI and Nvidia that gave their cards ridiculously high benchmark scores for certain tests/games, which highly skewed their actual abilities. Now imagine if all of the next generation of poster child games come pre-optimized for Intel hardware? That might just make some sub-par processors by Intel dominate AMD's chips in all of those game benchmark comparisons that enthusiasts flock to, and magazines quote. Sounds a little to collusionistic and monopolistic for my taste buds. I just prefer legitimate and intense competition between Intel and AMD that give me ultra fast, and affordable hardware.

Avatar image for firebreathing

while a lot of games do use the Havok engine, some games still don't, such as Crysis, so it would be rather foolish to make hardware that isn't that compatible, especially with such big name companies.

Avatar image for blacktorn

So what this basically means is that we can expect Ageia type physics power on upcoming Intel cpu's? Sounds good to me

Avatar image for imprezawrx500

"hopefully this isn't bad for console gaming business, as far as i know, Intel is not a friendly territory for consoles" well xbox1 has a stripped down p3 in it but intel got m$ mad like nvida buy not reducing the price of the chip since they owned the design so it think they will be in ms's next console

Avatar image for pauldarkside

Great stuff! A physics engine built into the CPU would be tremendous and much more viable than Ageia's PhysX card. Now get on with incorporating the physics routines into the core instruction set; SSE5 or 6. I can't wait to play Alan Wake, for example, on something like that. Oh, and I can't resist ... Cry havok, and let slip the dogs of war!

Avatar image for GrimBee

Thats cool. I wonder if intel will now produce their own physics processors for the PC. I never knew PC's could have physics processors until a few months ago - if Intel bought havok - chances are that Intel are looking to produce a line of physics chips with the havok engine in-mind. Physics Processing Unit (otherwise called PPU's) are probably the new ways forward in gaming technology. Instead of using what the CELL processor does (seperate calculations and cores under one roof). The idea of a PPU is that it has seperate "roof" to work out all the physics calculations instead of leaving it up to the CPU's and the GPU's to calculate. Physics Processors greatly improve the speed of games on PC's, when you have big buildings exploding or whatever, its not the polygon count that slows the pc down, its the physics calculations that slow it down. Imagine a large building exploding - every piece is accounted for, and calculated to move in its chosen environment, whether it be in a strong wind, falling into water or whatever. Physics engines can be awesome for games, but nasty for low-powered pc's. And the truth is, not even intels quad core cpu's can handle alot of things like massive physics calculations, 3d rendering and multi-tasking. So - PPU's are probably the new way forward. And I reckon now that Intel have purchases Havok (industry leader in Physics Engine technology), this gives them full rights to write the software to their own hardware - so to speak. Nearly all games use Havok. And if Intel are as good at business as they say they are, then they basically just created their own market for PPU's aswell.

Avatar image for Squeets

jameeler i hope they arent... i have already spent 1200$ on 360 and ps3, 1600$ on computer... if they make a new console i will go out and buy it to!!!! i cant help myself!!!!!

Avatar image for Delongman

Ok... now let-s wait for their games

Avatar image for jameeler91

what if intel is planning on making a gaming console

Avatar image for cocomacoco

hopefully this isn't bad for console gaming business, as far as i know, Intel is not a friendly territory for consoles

Avatar image for felshs

dammm.... i wish i have a millions dollar and retire

Avatar image for zeus_gb

Hmmmm....Intel integrated graphics cards now with built in Havok physics? *Shudders*

Avatar image for AceCometh

That's a pretty impressive list of games that use the Havok engine. I just hope that it doesn't become an exclusive engine to pc games. Me and my Xbox 360 would be very sad indeed!

Avatar image for Holopaw

The Havok engine is pretty tight, atta boy Intel for jumping on this one.

Avatar image for Blazer88

Nah, this is just a smart move by Intel as the Havok is the most used physics engine out there so there is instant pay-off. Still feel they shouls ether aquire Nvidia or at least enter into a patnership to further thier gains.

Avatar image for real_oxide

Hopefully this doesn't mean Havok requiring Intel technology to work properly.

Avatar image for jogunther

Hopefully they'll be able to make some kind of improvenments in their chips. I've abused my intel chip and its still running rock solid.

Avatar image for zarkia

wow, cool. i never know havok was irish. that made my day : )

Avatar image for dryden555

the folks at havok are doing a happy dance -- lots of $$ for them