Vivek Sharma, the vice president of Meta’s social media platform Horizon, has left the company. First reported by Reuters, and confirmed by a Meta spokesperson, Sharma’s last day was on Friday, and he will now be pursuing a “new opportunity” unrelated to Meta.
Sharma has been with Meta for nearly six years. When the company was still called Facebook, he served as the VP of product for Facebook’s Gaming and Marketplace divisions.
Following the Meta rebrand, he led the team that created Horizon Worlds, which has been positioned as the company’s social space for the metaverse. The platform is intended to eventually make its way into mobile, but is currently only accessible via VR headsets such as the Quest.
“We’re thankful for Vivek’s contributions across our Marketplace, gaming and metaverse teams over the last six years and we wish him well,” wrote a Meta spokesperson in a press statement. “Meta continues to be a source for developing great leaders, and we’re excited to see what Vivek accomplishes in his next chapter.”
Sharma’s departure also comes following Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s attempt to get skeptics on board with Horizon Worlds via a selfie of his avatar. That didn’t go as planned, and he’s since claimed that Worlds will look much better as the platform improves over time.
With Sharma’s leaving, his team will now report to Meta’s metaverse VP, Vishal Shah.
What is a metaverse? A miserable pile of maybes
Amongst tech companies like Meta and Apple, plus game developers such as Epic, there’s a desire to see the metaverse take off and become its own fixture in everyday life. MTV’s annual Video/Music Awards even acknowledged its growing importance with a “Best Metaverse Performance” category. The winner of that award was K-pop band Blackpink for their appearance in PUBG Mobile.
For Meta specifically, making a foothold in the virtual reality space has come with operating at a financial loss. Last month also saw Meta get hit with an injunction by the FTC, who argued that its attempted acquisition of VR developer Within was done with the express intent to eliminate competition in the developer space.
Before the weekend started, Zuckerberg teased the company’s incoming VR headset. Due out in the October and currently only known as Project Cambria, he said this new headset would place a greater emphasis on facial expressions, presumably for the avatars of those in Horizon Worlds.