Havok may locate new team of developers in Dublin

HAVOK, THE Emmy Award-winning Irish software company, is likely to choose San Francisco or Dublin to locate the team that will develop its software platform for the next generation of games consoles.
The firm, which is now owned by chip-maker Intel, had been lobbied by development agencies in Britain, Canada and Singapore but looks set to locate the team in one of its existing development centres.

However, David O’Meara, managing director of the firm which makes special effects tools for the games and movie industries, cautions that the effective tax rate of 55 per cent in Ireland does not make it an attractive location for top software developers.

“We need world-class talent so that means we either go to the universities or get it from abroad,” said Mr O’Meara. “This talent is mobile so a high tax rate here makes California more attractive to them. Effectively we will let our staff decide where we locate.”

Although the company has no intentions of moving out of Dublin, where it has its headquarters and a development team in the Digital Hub, Mr O’Meara says the high rate of personal tax rates needs to be considered if the Government is serious about building a smart economy.

Havok’s software has been used to develop hundreds of top-selling games and has been featured in blockbuster films such as Watchmen. It initially developed a physics engine which ensures that digital objects comply with the laws of the physical world. O’Meara said that for the next generation of consoles, which may not go on sale until 2013, Havok intends to offer a complete games development engine.

“Developers would not have to use any technology other than Havok’s,” said O’Meara. “The system will be modular so they will be able to use their own or third-party technology with our games engine.”

The cost of developing top-selling games has spiralled out of control in recent years. They now regularly exceed the costs of Hollywood blockbusters and as a result many games studios are shedding staff and cutting costs.

The Havok games engine will reduce costs, said O’Meara, because it will enable creative staff to create a rudimentary game without the need for programming input.

“Now that’s a very costly and iterative process but the creative people will be able to see what a game looks like much sooner,” said O’Meara.

Havok is also putting together a team that will develop tools for the iPhone which will be available by the end of the year.

“In the phone space there is just one winner – the iPhone – so we want to be there,” he said.

This year Havok introduced a number of new products – Destruction, Havok AI and, Cloth – which Mr O’Meara says has become the fastest selling title in the company’s history.

He was speaking yesterday on a short trip home to Dublin from San Francisco. He was last night named the IT Industry Person of the Year at the ninth ICT Excellence Awards, which were presented at a dinner in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dún Laoghaire.

Source:The Irish Times

© 2009 irishtimes.com.



Copyright 2008-2009 Daily IT News | Contact Us