Echo VR’s days are numbered, as Meta announced earlier this year it would soon be pulling the plug on one of its most successful games on Quest. But hardcore players of zero-G sports game Echo VR and its shooter variant Echo Combat aren’t going down without a fight.

Organizers behind a protest group called ‘The Fight For Echo’ are looking to keep their favorite game alive, and they’re apparently ready to take drastic measures.

On Wednesday, March 1st, the group commissioned an airplane-towed message to fly over Meta’s HQ in Menlo Park, California, which then circled the heart of Silicon Valley for over three hours for all to see. The message was directed at Meta founder & CEO Mark ‘Zuck’ Zuckerberg, stating: “ZUCK, DON’T KILL VR ESPORTS FIGHTFORECHO.COM”

You can see the plane in action, courtesy of a YouTube livestream by ‘rev2600’, one such dedicated Echo VR player:

The protest group explained the move on the Fight For Echo website:

While we are extremely passionate about these games and are very supportive of the team at Ready at Dawn and the Echo Games franchise on the whole, we think we can still help Meta and Ready at Dawn by continuing to be the testing ground and supportive community we always have been and provide a place where larger ideas for other VR games can be tested.

We cannot do that however without some kind of game server being provided to the community to host ourselves, or minimal infrastructure to play on and the permission to work with the people required to do it.

We understand that there is a future direction being taken; and that it is tied to regulations and compliance, and our intention is not to hold anything back. We only wish to continue to do what we’ve always done and be the ambassadors of VR that you want us to be.

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The Meta-owned developers Ready at Dawn announced in late January that it was shutting down the popular free-to-play multiplayer game Echo VR, which is slated to go dark on August 1st.

At the time, the studio said the decision to shut down the game “was made for many good reasons and chief among them is the studio coming together to focus on our next project.”

Undeterred by the airplane-towed plea, Meta sent out the following message to Echo VR players last night:

We are reaching out to let you know that Echo VR servers will shut down on August 1st, 2023 – 10:30 AM Pacific. On this date, both Echo VR and Echo Combat will no longer be playable.

Add-ons are no longer available for purchase in the Quest store. Echo Points are no longer available for purchase in the Echo Shop. Any Echo Points currently in your account can be used until August 1st, 2023 – 10:30 AM Pacific, with items heavily discounted in the Echo Shop.

It has been our pleasure to see this community grow and compete over the years. Thank you for your time and passion. For more information, please read Ready At Dawn’s blog post at https://medium.com/@EchoGames/an-update-on-the-future-of-echo-vr-7f074dca1ed1.

While a reversal of the shutdown seems less likely now that Ready at Dawn has completely neutered the free-to-play game’s in-game currency, the founders behind ‘The Fight For Echo’ initiative have setup a change.org petition so others can show their support. At the time of this writing over 25,000 people have signed.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Vibinator

    We the Echo VR won’t go down without a fight! This game as spawn countless leagues, communities across the world and brought people together!

    #FightForEcho
    #FreeCombat

    • There is nothing else like it. Very sad to see it go. Such a complete waste.

  • Paul Bellino

    Totally Agree, as an early adopter and total VR Veteran. Meta is now shooting itself in the foot yet again. Who is making such dumb decisions. First the Meta Quest Pro and now this. You cannot make this shit up. The axe must fall in order to save the company. Dear Mark please step in rehire John Carmack and make him CEO. Then get rid of the lead weights that are heading it now. Its the only way to install Confidence in the Company NOW.

    • ViRGiN

      You’re out of touch. Carmack isn’t interested in working on vr.

      • Ookami

        mainly thanks to being burned out by working on Meta, where no one listened to him.

        • ViRGiN

          mostly because AI is a much nearer future, but continue, go off talking about personal choices of a guy you never met.
          if you’re looking for someone burned out by vr, that guy is palmer luckey who is into killer drones right now and is doing pretty well financially.

          • kool

            Didn’t he just make a real sao VR headset?

          • ViRGiN

            I mean, he said he did. But he is the kind of guy who says tons of things and not follow them

          • Paul Bellino

            Why should I go back and forth with a guy not in the know. I won’t let you bait me. What I say is sound.

          • ViRGiN

            No, you shouldn’t let me. You should stay within your bubble and your comfort zone. Don’t ever step out of it – the world out there is dangerous.

      • Paul Bellino

        I am not out of touch VR was and is his dream from the days of Doom. with a guy like him all he needs on money and position. get real

        • ViRGiN

          Dude it’s very rich, what are you even talking about…

          • Paul Bellino

            Told you. you do not know what you are talking about or to whom you are talking to

          • ViRGiN

            No, you don’t know what are you talking about or whom you are talking to, because i said so.
            Now, touch some grass.

          • Paul Bellino

            I bet you don’t even own one headset and are some lonely kid living in his mom’s basement. Meta 3 will be Metas downfall. they needed eye tracking to make up for the low picture quality and lack of CPU power. The fact they are not doing that with this headset show to me they will fail. PSVR 2 will take over. They are going in the right direction. Forward not backwards

          • ViRGiN

            Meta downfall. Hahahahaha. You are insane.

          • Paul Bellino

            they are already firing people. And the fact echo arena failed is telling you something. you don’t see the writing on the wall. they were not listening to Carmack. now they are just starting to pay the price. Don’t be such a fan boy. look at reality.

          • ViRGiN

            you are 10 out of 10 on the insanity scale level.

            damn, looks like third world war is coming. meta, twitter, apple, google, samsung, microsoft, sony, nintendo is firing people. THE END IS NEAR. JESUS CHRIST LOVES YOU!

            only valve will come out victorious! ~300 employees, entire globe wealth in the hands of a super overweight fatty who looks like discord moderator.

          • Paul Bellino

            And you take fan boyism into an entire new level of blindness

          • ViRGiN

            i’m not sure how, but at least i don’t talk about imminent death of meta cause they fired people and have about the same amount of workforce as 1 or 2 years ago and are dead set-on on releasing quest 3 in about half a year.
            see you by then, when your elitist ass will get excited for another custom map for muh HaLf LiFe AlYx

          • Paul Bellino

            Well, my Valve Index and half-Life Alyx game is the best of the best. Ask anyone who knows what high quality VR is and they will tell you. and quest 3 will only sink meta in a bigger hole then they are in now. The Quest Pro was laughably a total failure. The quest 3 has no eye tracking for foveated rendering. they needed that to compete against Sony. Foveated rendering would have made up for the lack of CPU power the device has and therefor the games would look a whole lot better on a portable device. But then again what does john Carmack’s suggestions mean to them anyway? Meta thinks the know better and never listened to him anyway. You don’t look at the bigger picture. I do, so I know much more about VR. Been in the game since 2012. longer than most.

          • Paul Bellino

            John Carmack made doom, John like myself saw VR the moment he made that game. It was where we were heading. Anyone with 2 eyes could see that. The fact that he jumped the sinking ship that is Meta tells you a whole lot about Meta. Byeee

          • ViRGiN

            carmack is a beat saber nutjob, the only way he actually used vr in the past couple of years outside of 360 photospheres. guy might be a programming genius, might have kicked off doom and quake and stuff, but nowadays, he is a shell of his former self in terms of entertainment.

          • Paul Bellino

            Now I truly Know you have no Idea what the Hell you are talking about. and you are calling me insane… lol lol

          • ViRGiN

            cope with your half life alyx and index lol.
            everyone relevant to VR left valve and jumped ship instantly over to meta. valve is a clown company. the only dickard you will get is the one up your ass.

          • Paul Bellino

            You are such a jealous hater too bad you will not be able to afford one lol lol

          • ViRGiN

            you’re likely right, as to obtain dickard you will have to pay for it in nature to gaben personally.

          • ViRGiN

            Go on, i enjoy these shitty takes on Meta.

          • Paul Bellino

            Mark Suck is clueless what to do with VR. Just wait for the Valve Deckard to come out. Steam kills Meta every time. Gabe is a true gamer unlike suckerberg. Gabe, Carmack these are visionaries.

          • ViRGiN

            Why would i wait for dickard? Cause your weebly guru sadley said so? Insanity. Where is vr support for latest upcoming game counter strike 2? Lol. Valve never cared about vr. Ever. Alyx is an embarrassment. Not even a crowbar lol. Go download some single player mods, that’s the only thing left to do.

          • Paul Bellino

            Counter strike 2 will get VR in time. It will come with the Deckard. Don’t worry Gabe is just waiting for Meta to fail, and he will pounce with the best headset known to man. Wireless and wired he listens to what Carmack has to say, unlike Suck-a-dick-berg. You are going to have to come to the dark side when that happens.

          • Paul Bellino

            The valve Index is the best all-around headset still to this day. The Deckard will top that. wait and see. Too bad your little ass can’t get your mommy to buy it for you.

          • ViRGiN

            no, how can counter strike 2 come with the dickard when it’s already confirmed that HELF LAYF 3 is launch title?? you make no sense again

          • Paul Bellino

            yoou maadd

          • Paul Bellino

            Suckerberg is just in it for the Money. A rich white boy with lots of money but no real interest in gaming. He is in it only for money that’s why he wanted to make and control a metaverse. For cash only. Thats why he made the very stupid quest pro, so he could sell it to big business only. He is so stupid because if you make a really good headset Everyone would buy it. It like making a car for big business only. It makes no sense at all. Everyone drives cars. Just make a really good car, but it shows you his mind set. He is a big rich loser. GET IT.

          • Paul Bellino

            You have no answer for this because I am right, and you are wrong. You are too young and stupid to know all these things. You don’t read. You just play Meta fan Boy to the death like some fool.

          • Paul Bellino

            Yes, you are right Meta is Shitty. let’s keep shitting on them and sucker-big-titty-berg

  • jos f

    Their whole scheme seems ass backwards from the beginning. Give a great game away free but then be too cheap to keep it running. I would have paid for the game. Id pay for the game now… one of 2 vr games with infinite replayability ….(other is pop one)

  • Just open it up so you can host the server’s on your own.

    • Ookami

      such a simple solution for Meta to implement? So why don’t they? They just really don’t care about their community.

      • psuedonymous@mailinator.com

        Cue the bitching when it turns out the server implementation assumes that its being run on Meta’s servers using Meta’s infrastructure (e.g. account management, matchmaking, etc) and the code is functionally useless without those present.

        • Ookami

          uh, no. People are asking for the ability to host servers on their own computers, not Meta’s servers.

  • Meta sending the e-mail about shutting down Echo the same day there was this plane protest says a lot about what they think

  • It’s a shame. Why not release it for free on Steam, letting users to create servers? Why killing a good working online esport? Its fame could grow, now. In the next years, thanks to PSVR2 and other headsest coming, many new users could know about VR games, and EchoVR could have a rebirth with them.

  • Tommy

    Lol. hysterical

  • Scientism

    This new age of game “ownership” where servers last for just 3-4 years, with no ability to run dedicated servers is just atrocious and has to be protested somehow.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    I wonder if at some point the Meta PR people will step in and say “We have to continue to support Echo VR, this is now by far the cheapest options we will ever get for tons of free press and immediately getting back into the goodwill of the VR community, which has been rather pissed off by all of our recent moves and now even starts to preemptively criticize the Quest 3. Who cares about the game, just hire a couple of interns and keep it running like before, that will be enough.”

  • An airplane sign? Yah, that’ll do it. :/

    It’s not the most complex game on the planet, why not just make your own? Maybe Open-Source it, seems like you might get some volunteers, if the fans are willing to go to the trouble of the “Air-Banner”.

    • ViRGiN

      talk is cheap, labor is not. for such a widespread neckbeard driven meta-hate, there is not a single ‘open source’ community aiming to create either basic hardware or even software. vrchat people are willingly joining the corpo-verse, cause they get to wear tails instead of human bodies. msot outspoken people on the internet are a complete joke.