Microsoft Acquires 3-D Tools Provider Simplygon

As part of its effort to democratize 3-D technologies, Microsoft on Tuesday announced its acquisition of Simplygon, a provider of 3-D solutions based in Sweden.

Founded in 2006 by Donya Labs, Simplygon makes solutions that are used in games graphics engines and virtual reality applications. Its solutions automatically address "level-of-detail" issues when rendering 3-D objects. Level of detail is a computer graphics concept in which software will show perspective in a scene by using polygons with fewer details for far-away objects, but greater detail for the closer objects.

Microsoft sees Simplygon's technology as being useful for the 3-D enhancements that will be coming this spring in the Windows 10 "creators update."

"This acquisition accelerates our 3-D For Everyone vision and strategy, which we introduced with the Windows 10 Creators Update at our event this past October in New York," explained Kudo Tsunoda, corporate vice president for Next Gen Experiences at Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, in an announcement.

Back then, Microsoft pointed to its Paint 3-D application, currently in preview, as one example of applications getting 3-D enhancements. It's an update to the old Windows Paint tool, allowing users to inflate flat objects into 3-D ones. Such 3-D capabilities also will be coming to Office applications, too, such as Excel, PowerPoint and Word, "over the next year," Microsoft had explained back in October.

Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, had indicated in October that the Windows 10 creators update was designed to "bring 3-D and mixed reality to everyone." He also introduced Microsoft's coming Surface Studio PC for graphics work, along with a Surface Dial graphics tool. The Microsoft Edge browser is being designed to work HoloLens, Microsoft's mixed reality (or augmented reality) hardware device that imposes 3-D images on a background, Myerson had indicated.

Microsoft is essentially buying one of its partners with the purchase of Simplygon, as the two companies have worked together on HoloLens. Simplygon's solution permits "developers to optimize large complex assets for Microsoft HoloLens by reducing the assets complexity while still maintaining a high fidelity appearance," Microsoft had explained, in an October released statement.

Although it may not exactly be related to the Simplygon acquisition, Microsoft indicated this week that the Windows 10 creators update would be bringing a "new Windows Game Mode" to improve the performance of PC games. There also will be a Beam gameplay broadcast capability coming to Windows 10 creators update and Xbox One.

No financial details regarding the Simplygon acquisition were announced by the companies.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.