What could Microsoft do with the world's largest video game physics company? A lot

Halo 5: Guardians

Physics are a pretty important part of your favorite video games. Right next to graphics and gameplay, they're one of the most crucial components in a successful title. Any time you've ever bumped in a wall in a game, jumped or fell down, you have the physics engine to thank.

With that in mind, you'll find it interesting to know that Microsoft has just purchased the largest physics engine company in the world, Havok, from hardware purveyor Intel. Why is this a big deal? The software, which you might recall from the mere two-second flash of a logo at the start of most games, has been used on over 600 titles in the past decade, including first-party games from Sony and Nintendo.

The sale, which went through today, could potentially spell negotiating trouble ahead for the makers of the PS4 and Wii U, as well as other third-party development studios that will now have to turn to the Redmond-based company for licensing the software. Though, fortunately, it seems unlikely that Microsoft will hassle the other companies.

In a statement sent to IGN, Microsoft stated "We will continue to license Havok's technology to the broad AAA games industry. This also means that we will continue to license Havok's technology to run across various game consoles including Sony and Nintendo."

One possible analysis of the situation is that Microsoft bought the company in order to reduce the licensing cost of its titles, as well as use the branch of the business to generate more revenue.

The Havok team will join Microsoft's growing suite of development tools including Visual Studio, DirectX 12 and Microsoft Azure.

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Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.