Echo VR: Fans keep discontinued cult VR game alive

Echo VR: Fans keep discontinued cult VR game alive

The popular but discontinued VR multiplayer game Echo VR is being kept alive by an active community. One of its members gives us an insight.

Echo VR was one of the most successful online VR games of its time. Between 2017 and 2023, the developer studio Ready at Dawn, which was acquired by Meta, built up a considerable fan base. The futuristic sports game for PC VR and Meta Quest 2 allowed players to glide in zero gravity, introducing a form of locomotion perfectly suited to Virtual Reality. The two game modes, Echo Arena and Echo Combat, even established themselves in the e-sports world.

Then, in early 2023, came the bad news for many fans: Ready at Dawn announced that it would be shutting down the Echo VR multiplayer servers on August 1, 2023. However, thanks to the dedication of a passionate community, multiplayer duels in Echo VR have been revived. Marcel Hentschel, one of the German community hosts, provides an insight into a cult VR game that was thought to be dead.

Developer offers relay for EchoVR on GitHub

Meta's CTO Andrew Bosworth cited declining user numbers and the need to reallocate resources as reasons for the decision to discontinue Echo VR. However, Meta's decision was met with criticism, including from John Carmack, former CTO of Oculus and an advisor to Meta until 2022.

Carmack argued in favor of retention, arguing that the loss of something fans loved would not be offset by the creation of something new and valuable. The retention of Echo VR that Carmack called for is now being taken on by the fans themselves.

"Two months after the game's servers were shut down in August 2023, a completely self-developed relay appeared on GitHub that allows us to host our own servers," says Hentschel. The person responsible for this is a developer called "Xenomega", who says he was never part of the EchoVR community. "He was probably just keen on the project and nobody knew anything about it until the surprise release," says Hentschel. The relay acts as a matchmaker and connects players with Echo VR's integrated servers.


Constantly growing community keeps Echo VR alive

In response to this new development, several small communities have formed around the game. The largest of these is the Echo VR Lounge, where many members volunteer to host servers at their own expense. The Echo VR Lounge offers servers all over the world and currently has over 7,000 members.

The community's efforts to maintain the player base have paid off. The record number of concurrent players is around 200 — an impressive number, but one that Hentschel expects to be surpassed soon as new players continue to join. "It is easy to find matches. You go to the lobby, click on matchmaking, and you should be able to find a game.

Despite the initial setback, the revival of Echo VR is a perfect example of the power of community support and passion for a beloved game. Thanks to the efforts of Xenomega and hosts like Marcel Hentschel, Echo VR continues to thrive, providing an immersive experience for dedicated gamers around the world.

If you are interested in joining the EchoVR community, you can find all the information and help you need to get started on the Echo VR Lounge Discord server.

Sources: Echo VR Lounge EchoRelay on Github