Tomorrow, Meta and Ready at Dawn are shutting down Echo VR, the free-to-play game that helped pioneer VR sports. Get in now before they pull the plug.

Meta made no secret it was shutting down the zero-gravity sport Echo VR and its PC-only squad shooter variant, Echo Combat, having announced earlier this year it was sunsetting the games come August 1st at 10 AM PT (local time here). That means fans only have a few hours left to play before the multiplayer-only games are unceremoniously disconnected from Meta’s servers.

Echo VR fans didn’t go down without a fight though. Some spirited protests against the shutdown even included a dedicated fan group flying an airplane-towed message over Meta’s HQ in Menlo Park back in March, stating “ZUCK, DON’T KILL VR ESPORTS FIGHTFORECHO.COM”. Both online and offline protests fell on deaf ears though. The URL mentioned above now leads to a 404, and it’s pretty clear by now that Meta didn’t change their collective minds.

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The studio recently released the Echo VR OST on YouTube, which feels like small recompense for killing consistently one of the best-rated and most popular free titles on Quest. Ready at Dawn, which was acquired by Meta in 2020, explained earlier this year the shutdown was made for “many good reasons [,] chief among them is the studio coming together to focus on our next project.”

Both Ready at Dawn and Onward studio Downpour Interactive found themselves caught up in one of the multiple rounds of layoffs to hit Meta earlier this year. To boot, Ready at Dawn has yet to reveal what’s next. Whatever it is though, we’re hoping it has many of the same hard-won learnings baked in, like Echo VR and its narrative games Lone Echo did. In the meantime, check out the OST playlist below.

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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.
  • NotMikeD

    End of an era! Of all the games that are shutting down, I still have trouble believing Echo VR is one. This title blew my mind years ago at launch with its combination of one of VR’s all-time most intuitve & immersive locomotion schemes combined with true physicality. This particular combination led to the very first instance I’ve ever found where the ‘E-Sport’ monicker felt believable, more than just a bunch of sweaties hunched around a gamepad playing Call of Duty or Zerg-rushing in Starcraft. There was honest ATHLETICISM and coordination required here, and it felt great to play. Even better with friends, as bad as we were, we always came away from matches laughing, and even found diplomacy and making off-the-wall side-deals with other teams of players to be an emergent source of fun later in the game’s life.

    Don’t even get me started on the ill-fated ‘Echo Combat’ add-on; during its open betas when everyone was on the same basic skill-level I found it to be quite literally the most fun I’d ever had playing a multiplayer video game. Popping out from behind the cover of the floating Swan to blast away at attackers was some next level stuff that felt more like a true zero-G paintball match than a video game. I think maybe we should’ve seen some of the writing on the wall for the regrettable decision-making by both Meta and RAD when that mode mystifyingly never saw the ligth of day on the Quest platform with its much larger userbase.

    The shutdown announcement of Echo was the last straw for me on the Meta platform and I’ve finally followed the sage advice I’d seen uttered so often online and moved 100% of my VR spend (which is considerable, I’m a VR junkie and daily visitor here) over to SteamVR. I buy games to build libraries, a collection of experiences to first conquer and then revisit when the mood strikes me–particularly multiplayer experiences I can enjoy with friends when it’s convenient for us. The fact that Meta doesn’t seem to understand (or care) about the good-will hit they’ll take by taking back the things we naively thought we owned and could count on to always be part of those collections has shaken my faith that they’re a deserving partner in building such a library.

    I’m bummed that tomorrow VR will lose a big part of its history. While the player counts may have disappointed some corporate-types at Meta, I think most of us around here understand the unfortuante reality of the niche that VR gaming finds itself in, and I still think of Echo VR as one of the most popular, successful multiplayer-only VR titles, and certainly its best claim to the E-Sports monicker. I don’t know exactly what happens tomorrow, and I’d be elated if they saw fit to let us continue to float around even the empty halls of the once jubilant lobbies, and even better if we could stil fire up matches against AI Bots. But no matter what happens, a big floating-disc shaped hole will form in my heart tomorrow. I thank this game and those who made it for its years of service. It’s been a blast!

    • Hussain X

      Moving 100% VR spend to SteamVR is also not a good move. Steam has done far less for VR to get 100% of your spend. Meta has and continues to do far more for VR. At least we got Echo Arena and Echo Combat to play with Arena getting a huge playerbase thanks to Meta releasing affordable, subsidised Quest line.

      We need competiting PC VR stores to Steam to succeed for competition and we need Valve to compete for custom too – not just given it. Had Rift been a threat to Steam we’d probably have more Valve funded VR games and a £500 Valve Index already as well as more Rift funded games and Rift headsets like Rift Dome. But Steam’s monopoly has meant both Rift and Steam barely get further VR spending. And I don’t buy Valve is small, an excuse made by some. It makes vast amounts from Steam. Its employee count is small just because it’s kept small and vast majority of Steam profits is taken out by owners and not invested back into it. Sony PlayStation spends a lot for VR so can Valve for SteamVR.

      Don’t forget Viveport store and its Infinity subscription (and Epic store). It’s a great alternative way to access pcvr games especially Infinity. If you must go 100% SteamVR then of course there is the option to buy Steam titles from 3rd party stores like Humble Bundle and Fanatical. At least that way there is some competition to pricing and promotion of pc games (to benefit gamers and devs) although it doesn’t stop a Steam monopoly, just helps it. PCVR would’ve been the best gaming platform had there been competition. Imagine a parallel world where there is competition and Rift succeded. We’d be getting be Rift CV2s, CV3s, £500 Index 2s, 3s. We’d be getting Lone Echo 3, Half Life 3 VR, L4D 3 VR, Asgard’s Wrath 2 PCVR. Microsoft seeing success of Rift, a newcomer, it will also fund VR titles for its PCVR store and develop new VR hardware. And given it’s on pc, doesn’t matter if a store doesn’t support a hardware. Can just use hacks like ReVive. Hence a Steam monopoly isn’t a good thing and holds PCVR back.

      As for Echo VR shutting down, it is a total bummer. I’ve been playing Arena since release in 2017. At least half my VR gaming is in Arena and is my main go to for exercise. Combat is also one my favourite shooters but it’s now small playerbase means you’re mostly playing with sweats now. If it came to Quest it would’ve done really well I’m very sure. Arena didn’t even advertise Combat is free now like it does for Pop One.

      Meta shutting down a very popular unique game doesn’t help its image as a vr gaming platform. I will be hesitant buying/investing time in similar Meta owned eSport type multiplayer games as they could just get shut down even if it’s popular. I’d understand if barely anyone plays it but is not the case here, not even for combat. I’m sure It will also make some other players and companies hesitate to seriously pursue a Meta owned VR multiplayer as a VR eSport title as it could just get taken down. Should another indie eSport title succeed, then Meta buys it out, it could signal hesitancy, doubt and disrupt future plans players and companies might have had for it and they may look elsewhere.

      Meta has spent billions on VR. It can pay a trivial amount of that to keep its VR goodwill or lose it. It should think of it as a tiny investment for its VR gaming brand.
      I hope Meta surprises us by changing its mind. Maybe it was a ploy so it could come back and say we listened and we will keep servers running. But I doubt it now as only a day left.

      • NotMikeD

        Good points and well stated, particularly the part about the small investment Meta could’ve opted to make to keep Echo VR alive. On the one hand they claim to be investing so much in building the future of the VR platform, but actions like letting Echo die send exactly the opposite message. Instead, they continue to pump up an almost universally disliked social platform (Horizons) instead.

        I suppose I exaggerated in moving “100% of my spend to Steam,” I’m also invested in the Sony VR ecosystem as well, and yes even a bit in EGS. I suppose what I’m saying is that I’d rather vote with my dollars for high fidelity VR experiences available on PCVR and Sony’s platforms. I appreciate all of the funding and visibility Meta’s put into VR, but other than that I’ve been at odds with so many of their decisions, and the last thing I want for VR is for it to become a race to the bottom in developing low fidelity, made-for-mobile experiences. Lone Echo 2 was the last shred of evidence that anyone in the Meta umbrella champions creating VR experiences of the caliber that I crave, and it’s been years.

      • The thing to keep in mind about Meta is their ultimate goal. They don’t care about VR, they want to own the next digital frontier, that’s why they’re dumping billions into this. It’s a numbers game to them, if they see an avenue that moves them closer to that goal, even if it means stepping on their existing user-base, they have shown they will do it time and time again.

        If tomorrow they found a technological breakthrough that made AR glasses a thing. They would drop their VR initiatives like a hot potato, just like they did with PCVR.

        That isn’t to say no one should buy their products cause their VR headsets freaking rock, but if there’s a game you care about having access to long-term, you might want to buy it on a more stable platform just in case.

      • ViRGiN

        Steam removing access to millions of people because they decided not to support windows 7 and 8 is a topclass dikmove
        There are more people on these older (and perfectly fine!!) Systems than there ever was on pcvr at any moment in it’s life.

        It’s better to pirate games than support such practices.

  • kool

    They have got to be announcing a quest 3 launch line up any day now.

    • Andrey

      Why will they do something like this anytime before September’s Connect? Genuinely interested, maybe I missed some news/rumors and/or you know something about it? I could understand “early” Quest 3 reveal (that TOTALLY had nothing to do with Apple Vision Pro announcement), but now when cards are on the table, imo, they have no reason for showing any games before the actual presentation with release date announcment/pre-orders start, etc.

      • kool

        I guess connect is when it would be announced. I didn’t know the name or date of the show, I just figured they have to be showing something soon to piss off people by pulling the plug on a flagship title. So September is when they will announce their launch year lineup.

    • NotMikeD

      Is your implication here that they’d announce a new Echo VR title for the Q3?

      • kool

        Id hope so.

        • NotMikeD

          While I’d be happy to be proven wrong, I can’t imagine that’s possible. You don’t promote a franchise and potential for future games by socializing the idea that it’s an undesirable property with a languishing player base that you’re letting die. That would be about the worst marketing decision in history.

          But hey, in line with other decisions Meta and RAD have collectively made, so I guess anything’s possible..

  • Still can’t believe Echo Combat is dead. Such a sad day. I had such high hopes and dreams for this game.

  • Sven Viking

    I’d join if I hadn’t broken my toe recently. I guess it’s probably technically playable seated, but it wouldn’t be the same.

  • This is so sad

  • Ookami

    RIP Echo VR. Another videogame to hit the grave, never to be played again. Media preservation be damned.

  • lnpilot

    This is the huge problem with online games. The publisher can just kick you out. This is why I will never subscribe to one.

  • Paul Bellino

    Its a total shame. Shame on Meta. No wonder why Meta is losing so much money

    • ViRGiN

      they aren’t losing.

  • Jistuce

    The big problem here is, and always will be, centralized servers operated by the publisher being the only option for play.

    Is a company-hosted, organized high-capacity server with guaranteed uptime a good thing? Yes, absolutely.

    But… should it be the only option? Absolutely not.

    This is why you can still play Quake 3 TODAY, but can’t play Echo VR. You have never been NOT able to play Quake 3, because it was ALWAYS community-hosted.

    You can play Sparc today too! The community seems to have expended effort to keep community servers online well after the plug was pulled on the official servers.

  • Max-Dmg

    FB are broke lol.

    • ViRGiN

      you are morally broken. frequent visitor of skidrow games lmao! what a broke pcvr elitists asshat.