Havok: Acquisition by Intel ensures independence

Havok: Acquisition by Intel ensures independence
Michael French

By Michael French

September 21st 2007 at 8:35AM

Developers needn't fear a Criterion-like scenario, says CEO as his firm looks to ramp up for market growth

With the ink only just drying on the completed acquisition of his company by Intel, Havok CEO David O'Meara has told Develop that the move ensures independence of the middleware company and does not jeaopardise its relationships in the games industry.

Late last week, Intel announced it was buying Havok, known best for its Physics tools used in the likes of Half-Life 2 and Crackdown, in a deal estimated by investors to be worth $110m.

"Havok's philosophy has always been at its heart to be publisher and platform independent," he explained in an exclusive interview, adding that customers don't have to worry about Havok falling into the same trap as Renderware did following Criterion's acquisition by EA in 2004.

He said: "At the time of Criterion's acquisition, people would say what would happen to us - could EA step in, buy Havok too, and leave them with a problem? I had given them assurances both verbally and sometimes in writing to publishers that we would never go down that road. I have always wanted to make sure that we put that first."

Instead, he said that Intel's interest is an "endorsement" of Havok, its potential, and the middleware market in general.

"We did it out of strength, more than anything else. And our view is that we want to become stronger and better - I believe in middleware," said O'Meara.

While Havok will be run as an independent - "the same terms apply as before, and same management, we'll still have all our freedoms," said O'Meara - the acquisition will provide the tools company with the ability to scale up as it pushes into the Asian market and looks at how it can deliver middleware for low-end devices, not just the high-powered multicore processors Intel is making as many understandably have assumed and speculated.

Click here to read the full interview, in which O'Meara discusses the acquisition, predicts the growth of the marke and stresses Havok's intention to maintain previously established deals with other chip firms Nvidia and AMD.