Debate at your leisure whether PhysX is a good or even wanted inclusion in modern games; it looks like we're set to see it anyway. Earlier today nVidia announced it had purchased Ageia, subject to a few closing details which we expect to be sorted post haste. The deal has gone through for an undisclosed sum, but we doubt that it is as much as Intel recently splashed on Havok - it seems rather unlikely.
nVidia's CEO, Jen-Hsun Huan commented saying:
"The AGEIA team is world class, and is passionate about the same thing we are—creating the most amazing and captivating game experiences, by combining the teams that created the world's most pervasive GPU and physics engine brands, we can now bring GeForce-accelerated PhysX to hundreds of millions of gamers around the world."
What nVidia plans to do with its new acquisition is currently unclear. One possibility would be to add the PhysX chip directly onto its GeForce cards. Given PhysX's current levels of adoption it might be a bit of a mission persuading customers to swallow the extra cost for a near-redundant chip, but nVidia has a huge amount of influence over developers thanks to its "The Way It's Meant To Be Played" scheme and this should help increase support for the technology.
More interestingly, with both nVidia and Intel now having acquired the only two real players in the in-game physics market, AMD may be rather left out in the cold. Okay, so we're going to need to wait a while and see how the deal pans and what nVidia will do with the technology, but it's still a cause for concern for AMD. Saying this, I'm still shocked that anyone was willing to stump up the cash for Ageia at all.