AetherSX2 is a new PlayStation 2 emulator for Android, is currently in alpha

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The PlayStation 2 emulation scene has just seen the arrival of a new surprise contender. AetherSX2 is a PS2 emulator that runs on Android devices, and is set to release relatively soon. It comes from a new developer named Tahlreth, and while very little is known about the history of how AetherSX2 came to be, certain YouTubers have been given a alpha build of the emulator to show off the performance of PlayStation 2 games. Titles like Devil May Cry, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, and Final Fantasy X are shown off, even running at fairly smooth framerates. The emulator is said to perform best when used with phones that have Snapdragon SoCs, and has wide compatibility with the PS2's library.

A beta build is planned for release sometime soon, where users will be able to get it from the Google Play Store and test it out, prior to a full launch.

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What is it?​

AetherSX2 is an emulator of the Sony PlayStation 2(TM) / PS2(TM) console for the Android platform. You can play games which you have dumped from disc on your portable device.

What are the requirements?​

The PS2(TM) is an extremely complex piece of hardware, with many very powerful components, even for today. You need a high end device to achieve good performance.

We recommend at least a Snapdragon 845-equivalent device. This means 4 large cores (Cortex-A75 level). If you only have two big cores (e.g. Snapdragon 700 series SoCs, you should not enable multi-threaded VU, and performance will suffer as a result). Devices with Mali or PowerVR GPUs will run the app, but performance will be much lower than Adreno GPUs, and the Vulkan renderer will not be available. This is because they are missing a critical feature (dual-source blending).

If you want to use the app on a slower device, you can try it, but games will run slow, especially heavier titles. You can try underclocking the CPU by setting the cycle rate to a negative number, and the cycle skip to a positive number in System settings, but this will cause games to lag internally at best, or crash at worst.

Expectations.​

This is a free app, worked on as a hobby in the developer's free time. At the time of writing, it is in very early stages and missing many useful features, however is usable for playing some games.

It is not going to be perfect, far from it. I will continue to improve it when I have time, but please remember this is not my job, and to have realistic expectations, especially if you do not have a high end device.

As it is an early preview, you should save your game regularly in case of crashes.
 

raxadian

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Has Retroarch fixed this same issue? Also, didn't the dev stop development? So...



Obviously it's not going to open the gates for low end hardware, I mean more so making it more reliable on mobile hardware. Forking the PC variants might not be as simple as it sounds. Haven't they tried this with PCSX2?

The main reason why PS1 emulation works so great on Android is because even in early Android PS1 emulators the Android phones who could run them had a hardware several times more powerful that a PS1 and the PS1 being the easiest console of their generation to emulate.

The PS2... well... it was actually not build correctly so in practice it wasn't more powerful that a Dreamcast, but had the advantage of being a cheapo DVD player and being able to run CDs and DVDs, plus being backwards compatible with the PS1.

So if you already had a PS1 you could sell it, buy a PS2 and still play all your PS1 games as long as you keep at least one PS1 memory card.

Anyway the PS2 is a lot harder to emulate partly on purpose as Sony didn't want to deal with another Bleem. This caused problems on early PS2 games as it was not as easy to program for the PS2 and it was for the PS1.
 

Guacaholey

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Well windows 11 supports android APKs, so...
I don't think it supports APKs. Officially it's stated that you download apps through the Microsoft Store. Not that it matters much because this is probably a fork of PCSX2 anyway.
 

DKAngel

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Shady or not it's a hot subject, PS2 Emulation is already somewhat messy on PC so mobile users have one of two options atm, use an extremely slow and heavily WIP safe emulator (Play!) or use a shady, paid and very likely malicious but much more (in comparasion) efficient hackjob (DamonPS2). Time will tell if this is just fluff or an actual step in the right direction, but it's noteworthy either way imo as it's promising a lot of things if true.
ps2 emulation on the pc isnt messy at all, the amount of games that pcsx2 runs is unbelivable
 

rantex92

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Don't hold your breath. This emulator recommends a Snapdragon 845 SoC which is significantly more powerful than the Switch's Tegra X1.
the question is how long can it keep the speed?! look up some benchmarks most flagship phones (like s21 ultra) are more like flagship potatos after half an hour of intense using(emulating/gaming/editing) these phones are only build for "quick" heavy workloads
 

NeoGranzon

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Hopefully well,i still have some games to complete for PS2 and that there aren't any on PS Vita and Nintendo Switch.
 

Bladexdsl

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android can't even run dolphin properly at 1080p and that's on the shield pro the most powerful android device you can get. so a ps2 emu for android I can just imagine how slow it will run! :lol:
 

Guacaholey

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Never happening with that ancient CPU
It's got nothing to do with that, because people have used far older CPUs with great effect for PS2 emulation. It's because it's a fairly weak CPU and there's not a whole lot of RAM in the Switch.
 

cashboxz01

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I hope this gets ported over to Apple silicon. The performance on M1 Max would be absolutely insane. Heck, even when Dolphin ran on iOS, it was at least as good as running native iOS games...plus the dolby audio
 

cashboxz01

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You say stolen, but if they release sauce and play by the rules of the licence, isn't this like, the point of open sauce software?
Yea but the current PCSX2 team has a fragile ego. They somehow want no one else to fork the emulator, but at the same time they don't want to work on it themselves...so they always try to spin a fork as stolen code. If team PCSX2 were serious about keeping the project alive, we'd have already seen a retroarch core as well as at least 1 iOS IPA of it.

My guess is that the people who are opposed to it being forked aren't the people who started then project with the intention of making it open source...after all, a huge number of people have contributed to the project over the years.
 
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ganons

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It's got nothing to do with that, because people have used far older CPUs with great effect for PS2 emulation. It's because it's a fairly weak CPU and there's not a whole lot of RAM in the Switch.

So CPU is the problem, the dev even said the same thing
 
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