MSI Afterburner Developer is Calling It Quits after MSI Stopped Payment for over a Year Due to War Sanctions

Image: MSI

MSI Afterburner developer Alexey Nicolaychuk, aka “Unwinder” on the Guru3D forums, says that the project is likely dead in a series of forum posts. The overclocking tool has been the de facto go-to for millions of users worldwide and this news comes as a shock to much of the community that relies on it. In recent years EVGA’s Precision X1 gained in adoption as an alternative but it too is now in limbo following EVGA’s exit from the graphics card market although it did release update version 1.3.7.0 with support for RTX 4090 cards in October 2022.

Lack of Updates Led to Reveal

Meanwhile, users have been asking for updates to use AB with their new RX 7900XT cards which triggered the responses from the MSI Afterburner developer. The responses originally began with Unwinder saying they had not received any samples so they were unable to work on any updates but not long after another reply stated that the project is likely dead which, of course, got the community’s attention in asking why and here’s the answer given.

“War and politics are the reasons. I didn’t mention it in MSI Afterburner development news thread, but the project is semi abandoned by company during quite a long time already. Actually we’re approaching one year mark since the day when MSI stopped performing their obligations under Afterburner license agreement due to “politic situation”. I tried to continue performing my obligations and worked on the project on my own during the last 11 months, but it resulted in nothing but disappointment; I have a feeling that I’m just beating a dead horse and waste energy on something that is no longer needed by company. Anyway I’ll try to continue supporting it myself while I have some free time, but will probably need to drop it and switch to something else, allowing me to pay my bills.”

War Sanctions to Blame

Alexey, who lives in Russia, does not begrudge MSI but instead explains that the company doesn’t want to risk punishment for violating sanctions as Russia continues the war in Ukraine. The following reply came today after another forum member said they filed a complaint with MSI Europe.

“But it is not their fault at all. They’d love to keep the project alive, but they cannot and will not cancel or bypass sanctions and make SWIFT magically work here.”

However, Alexey adds that even if MSI should stop licensing or supporting the app, development on RTSS will continue as MSI does not own it. RTSS is a companion app installed with Afterburner, arguably its backbone, but can still be integrated into other things and continues to get new features.

“Everything I said above is related to Afterburner project, but I said nothing about discontinuing RTSS development. It is separate and fully hobbyist application created many years before MSI Afterburner was even born. RTSS still gives me a lot of fun to develop it and design new functionality for it, the company is not related to development of recently added RTSS plugins like HotkeyHandler/OverlayEditor, which are also fully hobby inspired. So with or without MSI, RTSS will be alive and get future updates and support. Talking about Afterburner part, I see no sense to try to make it profitable if company decided to freeze the licensing. So if it is dead – let it be so.”

Possible Paths Forward

Forum members are already rallying behind Alexey in trying to find another path for the developer to continue releasing software. One has even said that they work for a hardware company that uses the app and would like to help the developer out in continuing to move forward and asked Alexey to contact them. Others are suggesting Patreon and similar methods to provide income for development but it has already been noted the developer would need to create something else as MSI would not likely release the license for Afterburner.

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Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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