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President of Square Enix of America leaves company (update)

Mike Fischer, former president and CEO of Square Enix of America, quit the company this month, Polygon has learned.

Fischer, who took over leadership of Square Enix of America in July 2010, is now the vice president of digital Music and Video for Amazon in Japan.

He declined to discuss the details of his departure or the current state of the embattled company with Polygon, noting only that he left on good terms.

Square Enix officials confirmed Fischer's departure to Polygon and said Phil Rogers, current CEO of Square Enix in Europe, is taking over the job as President and CEO of Square Enix America. Rogers will now now oversee the business in the Americas and Europe.

Prior to his role at Square, Fischer worked at Namco, Sega and Microsoft.

Speaking with Polygon at E3 last year, Fischer said that his plans for Square Enix's North American efforts was to shift away from big title development to smaller, more experimental titles. Those efforts did not include Eidos Montreal, which reports to Square Enix Europe.

"I think we're probably seeing the end of games like Dungeon Siege 3, which is being developed here at Square Enix in America - it was a fine game, but it's not necessary for us to make games like this because I've got this incredible pipeline of product that's coming from Japan," he said at the time. "I've got these titles, many of which you see here, coming from Europe. I don't need to duplicate that."

The idea was for his group to explore new business models and take more risk with smaller projects. The first signs of those efforts was seen with Quantum Conundrum, a first-person puzzle action game designed by Kim Swift.

His plans included spending the company's money not on creating studios, but building up a core internal team of producers and engineers who would then support the independent studios that Square was publishing for.

The past year has been a tough one for Square Enix. Earlier this month, the company announced significant losses during their most recent fiscal quarter, blaming the shortfall on an "increasingly competitive and oligopolistic" console market. Officials with the company previously announced they were unhappy with the sales of their big three titles: Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider and Hitman: Absolution.

Fischer's departure comes in the wake of rumors that the company is trying to divest itself of its mobile gaming efforts in North America.

Update: Reached for comment today, a Square Enix representative confirmed Fischer's departure and said that "any rumors about shutting down North American or U.S. operations are not accurate."

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