Square Enix North America President Steps Down During Corporate Reshuffle

By James Dohnert , Updated May 23, 2013 04:17 PM EDT
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Square Enix is in trouble. Missed expectations and executive mismanagement have the lead the company to suffer a lull in overall sales. Square Enix has already lost one executive to its struggles and now another has left the firm.

Mike Fischer, president and CEO of Square Enix North America, is leaving the company to take on an executive position at Amazon. Polygon reports that Fischer left Square Enix earlier this month.

His departure comes in the wake of a radical reshuffling at the firm. Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada stepped down from his position with the company last March. Wada leaving was a direct result of poor financial earnings from the company's major titles.

Square Enix games Tomb Raider, Hitman Absolution and Sleeping Dogs failed to meet sales expectations for the quarter. Some commentators reported that the firm's expectations were too high for the games. While Square Enix put the blame on its North American sales staff. The company reported that North American sales were two-thirds less than those in Europe. Poor North American sales led to rumors that Square Enix was looking to divest itself of mobile game development in the region.

Divestment may have hurt Fischer's plans for the company. He said earlier this year that he was looking to decrease North American investment in major titles to focus on supporting smaller independent studios. His plan was based on the idea that Square Enix was already producing major titles in Europe and Japan. Fischer said last year that the development cycle allowed North American developers to focus more on 'experimental' titles which would diversify the firm's portfolio.

The plan led to a partnership with Portal lead designer Kim Swift for the game Quantum Conundrum. The first-person puzzle-platformer was released as a digital download for Xbox 360, PS3, and Steam last July.

Fischer tells Polygon that he left the Square Enix on good terms. He left the company to become Amazon's vice president of digital music and video in Japan.

Following his departure Square Enix looks to continue on its current development course. The company has two new Final Fantasy games set to launch later this year. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will be a sequel to the critically maligned Final Fantasy title released in 2010. Square Enix will also release Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII as a direct sequel to Final Fantasy XIII-2 later this year.

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