AetherSX2: A new PS2 emulator for Android (Updated: Based on PCSX2)

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AetherSX2 PS2 Emualtor Android Alpha Testing taki Udon

TL; DR

  • AetherSX2 is a new PS2 emulator for Android that is currently in closed alpha testing.
  • The primary developer behind the emulator answered some questions for us about what to expect.
  • YouTuber Taki Udon also has some examples of how the emulator works so far on a number of different phones.

Update: November 25, 2021 (12:24 PM ET): The team behind the mega-popular PCSX2 emulator for PC has released a blog post about the upcoming AetherSX2 emulator for Android. In it, the team confirmed that the new emulator is based on PCSX2, while also expressing enthusiasm about the project.

The PCSX2 team confirmed that they have discussed licensing barriers for AetherSX2 with the developer and that they were assured that any remaining issues would be resolved when the Android emulator is released.

“In addition, the developer kindly let us see an early alpha of the emulator, and it runs better than most of us had expected! We are really looking forward to recommending it to all those who want PCSX2 on Android as this is probably the best it can get, ”the team added, while warning against fake APKs out there right now.

Original Article: November 19, 2021 (11:13 ET): If you want to emulate PS2 games on your PC, there is a single choice: PCSX2. The play! emulator is also available, but it does not have the development support from PCSX2, which receives constant updates even today.

Related: The best emulators for Android to play old favorites

But what about a PS2 emulator of Android? Things get a lot scarier there. There is DamonPS2, but it is a paid emulator that is controversial due to the developer taking a lot of code from PCSX2 and violating LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License). RetroArch also has a Play! core right now, but it is far from ready to handle the needs of most players.

Now, however, a new emulator has arrived on the scene: AetherSX2. This emulator is in a closed alpha state at the moment, but the primary developer is very open about what we can expect. In addition, YouTuber Taki Udon has a video of the AetherSX2 emulator working on different Android phones with different processors.

Below we have some questions that the developer answered for us. If you’d rather just know the basics, it seems that this PS2 emulator for Android may be the solution to all our problems. It already runs games well on a number of chipsets (though of course the Snapdragon 888 Plus works best). It is based on existing LGPL emulation work, so it will be free and open source.

An open beta is expected to be launched before the end of the year (although the name may change), so keep an eye out!

AetherSX2 PS2 Emulator for Android: What to Expect

Tahlreth is the only developer behind the AetherSX2, at least so far. They work on the PS2 emulator for Android in their spare time. However, the base code for AetherSX2 comes from a leading PC-based emulator, which for legal reasons can not be named specifically. However, it is quite easy to find out as there are not many LGPL PS2 emulators.

Tahlreth has the full support of the development team behind the basic emulator code, so this is not a DamonPS2 situation. Tahlreth has also committed to abide by the LGPL for this emulator, which means that AetherSX2 will be free and open source.

Fortunately, this is not a DamonPS2 situation. This emulator is being developed in collaboration with existing developers.

Since the base code comes from an existing, highly developed PS2 emulator, the alpha version of AetherSX2 already looks good. It works on MediaTek, Samsung and Qualcomm processors. But as with any emulator, Qualcomm chips will perform best and high-end chips will give the best results. Still, this is not an emulator that only those with deep pockets will be able to play. Taki Udon’s video proves that even midfielders will see decent results.

As mentioned before, Tahlreth hopes to get an open beta version of the emulator out there by the end of 2021. Stay tuned as we give you a link to try it out when it happens.

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