Intel has announced that they are planning to acquire Havok, Inc., a company that developed the popular Havok physics software used in many leading games.
Havok's technology isn't just limited to games. They also have their hands in numerous other projects including Hollywood movies. Here's a snip from the Intel press release:
Havok's modular suite of software development tools is used by game and digital animation creators to build realistic video games for all types of hardware and digitally animated movies. The company's combination of superior technology and dedication to customers has led to its technology being used in more than 150 of the world's best-known game titles, including "BioShock," "Stranglehold," "Halo 2," "Half Life 2," "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion," "Crackdown," "Lost Planet: Extreme Condition," "MotorStorm" and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." In addition, Havok products have been used to create special effects in movies such as "Poseidon," "The Matrix," "Troy," "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
The possibility that Intel might eventually look to develop hardware accelerated physics processors (PPUs) to compete against AGEIA and AMD/ATI is certainly worth pondering. It's clear that the near future of PC gaming is going to rely on spreading out processing tasks amongst multiple cores, and who's to say whether or not another specialized core (such as those found on graphics cards) might not eventually become a necessity? The concept becomes especially plausible with an industry giant like Intel behind the idea, offering software support for 'lower end' PCs and dedicated hardware for the serious gamers.