Havok to power iPhone and iPad game makers as O’Meara bows out

13 Apr 2010

In a final interview with Siliconrepublic.com before his departure was announced, Havok’s outgoing CEO David O’Meara revealed the company is making many of its top products for video-game makers, including Cloth, Physics and Destruction, available for iPhone and iPad app developers.

O’Meara said the company is planning to sell iPhone and iPad versions of its technology to allow game makers to target the rising iPhone and iPad gaming segment with more realistic gaming effects as currently possible on other platforms like the PC, Xbox and PlayStation.

O’Meara said that while PC and mostly console games have driven Havok’s success over the past 12 years, the rise of mobile gaming on powerful smart phones like the iPhone and Android, as well as other segments like social gaming, cannot be ignored.

“We will be selling this software directly from the Havok site and it will allow game developers to target the growing apps market with games previously thought impossible.”

O’Meara has been CEO of Havok for the past seven years and two and a half years ago oversaw the company’s acquisition by Intel for US$110m.

“We have been very happy with our experience of Havok,” Renee James, senior vice-president, Intel Corporation and chairman of Havok, said.

“It is a recognised leader in the games industry. Since we acquired the company over two years ago, Havok has surpassed every target we have set for it – customer, operational, technology and financial.

“David will leave the company in a very strong position and we thank him for the leadership he has shown. The board will be appointing a new managing director shortly.”

Games publishers snap up Artificial Intelligence

O’Meara told Siliconrepublic.com that the company’s latest product, Artificial Intelligence or Havok AI, has been snapped up by four of the world’s largest games publishers with the first games debuting on the high street either later this year in time for December or early next year.

Artificial Intelligence allows games developers to put a new dimension into video gaming. For example, in most games to date, characters are mostly scripted and do pretty much the same thing. But with Artificial Intelligence, the rival or enemy in a shooter game, for example, will react to scenarios like new cover, avoiding traffic, you name it,” O’Meara said, demonstrating a scenario of thousands of individuals on a 5-kilometre map grid.

Under O’Meara’s leadership, Havok won numerous awards, including an Emmy and the prestigious peer-voted Game Developer Frontline Award in consecutive years.

The company counts the biggest names in gaming, such as Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and Pandemic Studios as customers. The company, started in 1998 at Trinity College, enables the realistic effects that millions of gamers across the world enjoy in such titles as Assassin’s Creed 2, Uncharted 2, Halo 3, Heavy Rain and Bioshock 2. A further 120 games are in development.

The company’s technology also powers Hollywood blockbuster movies like Watchmen, Bond blockbuster Quantum of Solace, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 10000 BC, X-Men: The Last Stand, Poseidon, The Matrix, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Today Havok employs 102 people in offices in Dublin, San Francisco, San Antonio, Calcutta, Munich and Tokyo.

Speaking about his time at Havok, O’Meara said: “Havok is a true Irish success story and continually demonstrates what it takes to forge ahead in a competitive global business.

“Havok is synonymous with quality and innovation. I feel great about all the achievements and innovations at Havok over the past seven years and I consider myself fortunate to have worked with such a great team.

“The company is in good hands and its position in the global market is unmatched,” O’Meara said.

By John Kennedy

Photo above: Havok’s outgoing CEO David O’Meara

Photo below: Havok Cloth can be used to depict movement of clothing, hair and body parts

Havok Cloth

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years