A key leader for Meta’s metaverse software is leaving the company

Facebook is opening up Horizon World, its virtual reality world of avatars, to anyone 18 and older in the US and Canada.

Courtesy of Meta

The vice president of Meta’s Horizon social media virtual reality software, Vivek Sharma, is leaving the company, a spokesperson said Friday.

Sharma has been with Facebook parent Meta for the past six years, holding high-ranking positions in marketplace and gaming, and most recently its nascent metaverse-related business unit.

As VP of Horizon, Sharma, who is based in the Seattle area, oversaw various VR projects such as the Horizon Worlds social media service, which is akin to the online game Second Life that’s been retrofitted to virtual reality. Other Horizon products include the VR-based workplace collaboration app Horizon Workrooms, and the Horizon Venues app for live events, which was moved into the core Worlds app this summer.

“Thanks to his leadership, the Horizon product group has built a strong team with an ambitious vision, and it is just getting started,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement. “Meta continues to be a source for developing great leaders, and we’re excited to see what Vivek accomplishes in his next chapter.”

The spokesperson added that the Horizon team will now directly report to Vishal Shah, Meta’s VP of the Metaverse.

Meta is betting that the metaverse, a collection of digital worlds that people can access through VR and related augmented reality technologies, represents the next frontier of computing.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast that his company will debut a new VR headset in October, which is the month that Meta typically holds its Connect VR conference.

Watch: What is the metaverse and why are billions of dollars being spent on it?

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