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The Serious Reason This PS2 Emulator Dev Called It Quits

Video game emulation is a very popular corner of the gaming industry and is constantly in demand, especially for older games that are either hard to find or have been pulled from markets completely — think a game like "P.T.," for instance — or left in licensing limbo after a console ceases production. Though emulation exists in a morally gray area and has been the subject of legal action from publishers, it remains a cornerstone of modern gaming and is subject to much demand with little reward for those behind it. Unfortunately, as with any free service, that demand can become overbearing, if not outright ravenous. And one unfortunate developer behind a popular emulation found that out the hard way.

Video game enthusiasts on mobile devices are likely familiar with AetherSX2, a PlayStation 2 emulation app available for Android users that gained traction recently. Unfortunately, things seem to have taken a turn for the worst, as on January 9, it was announced that AetherSX2 would be ceasing active development indefinitely. The reasons for this are extremely serious, disturbing, and flat-out deplorable.

AetherSX2 was abandoned following death threats

The official AetherSX2 website has been pulled completely. Instead, viewers are greeted by a message stating the development on the app has been suspended indefinitely. More specifically, the developer behind it (known only as Tahlreth) has lost the passion to continue with the project "due to neverending impersonating, complaints, demands, and now death threats." The site explained that the AetherSX2 app will continue to be available for Android users to both download and use, but that any future development on it is done for the time being.

"AetherSX2 was always meant to be a fun hobby for me, not profit driven," the developer said. "It doesn't make sense to continue working on a hobby which isn't fun anymore." The unknown developer later thanked people who supported the service and didn't cross any lines in the process. They also made sure to alert AetherSX2 users that there are fake imitations using its name and to download the legitimate version of the service.

Before the developer behind AetherSX2 closed up shop, they were the target of some criticism on Reddit. Luckily, multiple people jumped to the developer's defense, clarifying that a charitable act doesn't guarantee further accommodations and that it is rude to be demanding. Unfortunately, it seems that not everyone understood that. And because of it, it's unknown whether or not AetherSX2 will move back into active development ever again.