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Outspoken EA VP Jeff Brown leaves company after 14 years

Electronic Arts' brash company spokesman Jeff Brown has departed the company to handle public affairs at sports camera creator GoPro, according to a recent update on his LinkedIn page.

Brown served as EA's senior VP for corporate communications for 14 years. Speaking with VentureBeat, Brown said that he "fell in love" with GoPro, and that his departure shouldn't change opinions of EA.

"I spent 14 years at EA," Brown told VentureBeat. "The only institution I have ever done longer is my marriage. When I started, I thought it would be a 12-month gig. I had no intention of staying that long. I fell in love with games, and I have a lot of close friends at EA. I am completely supportive of Andrew. But it was a good time for me to say goodbye."

GoPro revealed at CES last week it would launch a dedicated channel on Xbox 360 and Xbox One this year.

Brown was well-known for being outspoken in his corporate responses. In one such example, after Oddworld Inhabitants founder Lorne Lanning spoke out against being approached by EA during the development of Stranger's Wrath, Brown responded memorably.

"We wish Lorne luck on the game and recommend Lithium for the paranoia and Tourette Syndrome," Brown said. "Nobody here remembers a jet, a Ferrari or an offer to buy his company."

Brown was also at the forefront of EA's handling of controversy for Mass Effect 2. After Fox News Channel incorrectly claimed that Mass Effect 2 featured "full digital nudity," Brown requested a revision to "set the record straight" on inaccuracies.

"As video games continue to take audiences away from television, we expect to see more TV news stories warning parents about the corrupting influence of interactive entertainment," Brown said in 2008. "But this represents a new level of recklessness.

"Do you watch the Fox Network? Do you watch Family Guy? Have you ever seen The OC? Do you think the sexual situations in Mass Effect are any more graphic than scenes routinely aired on those shows? Do you honestly believe that young people have more exposure to Mass Effect than to those prime time shows?"

Brown's move is another departure from EA in a list that most recently includes Chillingo founders Chris Byatte and Joe Wee, PopCap CEO Dave Roberts and Criterion co-founders Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry.

Following the departure of EA executive chairman John Riccitiello, the head of the EA Sports label and Origin, Andrew Wilson, was appointed the company's new CEO. Speaking with Polygon in November of last year, Wilson said that the company is still working to overcome The Consumerist's award for "Worst Company in America" two years running. Brown's departure could reflect a change in tone for the publisher, which struggled with its image and customer relations after the release of SimCity and Battlefield 4 last year.

Polygon has reached out to Brown seeking comment.

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