Vivek Sharma, Meta’s VP of its Horizon social VR platform, has left the business. Sharma’s resignation was confirmed by Meta spokesman Bryan Pope, who said that Sharma was departing to explore an unrelated employment opportunity.
Sharma’s exit comes at an inconvenient moment for Horizon. The metaverse is a massive gamble for Meta, with Horizon as one of its centerpieces, yet the whole endeavor became a joke last week. To help promote the debut of Horizon Worlds in France and Spain, CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared a screenshot on Horizon that prominently highlighted his dead-eyed avatar, which quickly became a famous internet joke. A few days later, Zuckerberg revealed concept drawings of a more detailed avatar, but the damage had already been done. There’s even a Snapchat filter that mocks Zuckerberg’s meme-ified appearance.
The viral moment and Sharma’s resignation are most likely just blips on the company’s metaverse radar. Meta is pushing ahead with additional gear, including a new VR headset that Zuckerberg said just yesterday will be available in October. And, just last week, the company unveiled its new Meta accounts, which let you use a Quest headset without logging in to Facebook. However, thus far, the metaverse has proven to be an expensive endeavor. The company’s Reality Labs segment lost $2.8 billion in the previous quarter.