Microsoft Just Ensured It Makes Money Off Sony’s Video Games

If you’re the kind of nerd who looks up the pile of logos that precedes every major video game booting up, you’re likely familiar with Havok. If not, Havok is a physics engine, called middleware, that’s enormously popular among game developers, that saves them time and aggravation getting the physics in games to operate. It used to be owned by Intel… but now, it’s owned by Microsoft.

Oh, don’t worry, Microsoft isn’t going to take Havok off the market; they’ve explicitly stated they’ll honor all Havok licenses and continue to issue new ones. But by the same token, it puts everybody else in the industry, especially Sony, in a tough spot. Naughty Dog used Havok to build Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us, and now, to keep using it, Sony will more or less have to cut their direct competitor a check or start using another physics middleware. Long-term, this also gives Microsoft a fairly crucial advantage in that it’s one less expense for their developers. Sure, they’ll technically still have to pay for Havok, but that will just be Microsoft giving money to itself.

This is really just an extension of Microsoft’s clever gamesmanship: This is the same company that collects billions from Google and its hardware partners, thanks to Android using some of Microsoft’s patents. And it raises the question of what Sony might do to address it, but for now, if Sony, Nintendo, and a host of third-party developers want to use Havok? They’ll have to pay Microsoft for the privilege.

(via Microsoft)