Fortnite caster ‘Jacob PR’ talks his start in esports, going from competitor to manager, casting the FNCS Invitational, & more
In this interview, Esports.gg sat down with Fortnite caster Jacob PR to discuss his background, casting different games, and more.
Each new Fortnite season, countless casters and analysts cover Fortnite to the fullest extent. One of those individuals — Jacob PR — has spent many years in esports. Now, he works with the esports organization XSET while casting the most significant Fortnite events.
Competitive Fortnite is a robust scene that features ultra-talented players and a constantly evolving game. The various seasons provide new weapons, items, and locations, all of which players need to learn and master. While it's a challenging feat without question, so too is analyzing and casting Fortnite.
Esports.gg had the chance to speak with Jacob PR, covering a wide range of topics, including his introduction to esports, various roles in the space, competitive Fortnite, and much more.
Getting to know Fortnite caster Jacob PR; how'd he get into esports and his various jobs
Tell us about yourself; how'd you get your start in gaming?
Jacob PR: "My name is Jacob Arce, also known as 'PR,' which is not anything other than I'm Puerto Rican. I wanted to play Xbox and get in the game, so it's just 'PR.' In terms of how I got my start in gaming, I feel like I was born into it. You know, my family being gamers; my brother had Sega Genesis, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and all those different things.
Even my mom, who isn't a gamer, would play with us every now and again. It was always something I liked to do, and then obviously, growing up with a family where I had my one brother and my brother had his friends, and they were all gamers, so being competitive naturally took over, and it went from there."
What were some of your favorite games growing up?
Jacob PR: "Surprisingly enough, growing up, I didn't play a ton of multiplayer games. I'm older than many people think, but I played Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars on Super Nintendo, Star Fox, Duke Nukem, Super Smash Brothers, and Turok: Rage Wars on the Nintendo 64. The first multiplayer game that had me hooked was Ghost Recon: Summit Strike. I was like, 'okay, online is a whole different beast, and I have to play online.'"
Gears of War
You competed in Gears of War at the age of 16. Tell us a bit about what that was like and how esports has evolved since then.
Jacob PR: "When I was 16, esports was already around a little bit. MLG had the Gears of War 1 circuit, and Halo 2 was around in the same arena, World of Warcraft was around there for a little bit, and that's where I started. I remember this one day I was playing Gamebattles, which was already competitive gaming, but I didn't know about MLG and LANs until I got a match on Gamebattles and the event was live. I was like, 'What is this? Oh, they are playing Gears,' and I saw a whole different element to competitive gaming.
So, the next year, I was 15 going to be 16, and wanted to do this. I talked to my mom and sister, and they all pitched in. I went to my first MLG event in 2009 for Gears of War 2. Unfortunately, my entire team didn't show up. One person got banned for fighting, one didn't believe in the roster, and I was really the only main guy. We ended up getting 30th, I played on the main stage in my first event, and I played very well as an individual, so I was able to use that to get on better teams."
After retiring from Gears of War, you accepted a position with Ghost Gaming. What was that like, and what were some of the most important lessons you learned during that time?
Jacob PR: "Gears of Wars wasn't necessarily massive at the time. You were lucky to win your money back for traveling back when I gave up. I did one more event after I wanted to give up because that's when they announced a $1 million circuit and all that stuff. I was like, 'Man, I got to do at least one more.' I didn't necessarily have much time to invest in the same ways. My mom ended up getting sick, so I needed extra money for the house, and I didn't like being unprepared.
Without being able to scrim and practice and my teammates having a very busy schedule, I had to think, 'Do I keep going into it spending my own money and trying with half practice, or do I take a step back to coach or manage a roster while still making money on the side?' I worked at McDonalds at the time to make ends meet and ended up moving up from a regular cashier to manager to almost running the store before leaving.
That made me retire and give up on the competitive aspect, but I've always been supportive and genuine. We can talk about strategy, and we can talk inside of the game and outside of the game. Naturally, it was easy to make that transition to being a coach and manager.
In 2017, I was with a roster that didn't have an org. At the last second, Ghost Gaming picked up the team, and I stuck around as the coach and manager. As soon as Gears of War was winding down, I moved on to manage more than just the Gears of War roster."
Casting different games & his role with XSET
the FNCS Invitational 2022 broadcast crew
You've spent time casting competitive gaming titles such as Gears of War, Call of Duty, and Fortnite – do you have a favorite? What are the major differences between these three titles from a commentary standpoint?
Jacob PR: "I've been lucky enough to cast a wide variety of things. I tell people I'm lucky in general to be in this position because I've kind of held every single role from being a player, coach, and manager, to helping with social media, and setting up events. I've done everything when it comes to being a part of an organization, both esports and gaming. So, I've seen different things than just casting things.
Gears of War is a game that will always have my appreciation. It's a unique and niche game in terms of the movement, how you get kills, and how you play it. It's not necessarily the same one-for-one as a lot of the other titles, especially a Battle Royale title. So, Gears will always have a special place in my heart. In terms of the eyes, Call of Duty is separate, but overall, Fortnite has to be my favorite.
What do you enjoy the most about casting Fortnite and being part of the scene?
Jacob PR: "There's just something about this game [Fortnite], and I'm not good at the building aspect compared to all these people I'm casting. In Gears, I was decent and could perform at a certain level. In Fortnite, I'm not even close to performing at a certain level. But there's just something about it that I'm just stuck on it. Fortnite has my passion the same way Gears of War captured it as one of my first games.
Casting Fortnite is unique because it's a Battle Royale game, unlike Gears of War and Call of Duty. In Gears of War and Call of Duty, it's team versus team, and you can create that one storyline. In Fortnite, I've literally seen it change people's lives, including my own. So, being a part of that and casting that will always be surreal. I've casted so many different games for different organizers, and I've never been taken care of in the sense that Epic Games and BLAST have taken care of me.
They don't just hire you to put on a show. They develop you, make sure you're comfortable, and make sure you do a good job. For me, that is part of the reason I like casting the game because it shows they actually care about you as a person instead of just you as a talent."
Talk a bit about your role as Operation Manager with XSET. What does it entail, and how have you enjoyed your time with the org since joining?
Jacob PR: "I would say yes, I think working in esports and gaming, in general, is a blessing. There are a lot of people out there who would do it for free if given the opportunity to work their way up. It's brought out the best in me. People might think a certain way about casters in front of the camera, but I'm actually a shy and timid person. For the most part, it's hard for me to get out of my shell.
Being a part of an organization like XSET has helped get me out there because I have to know all the esports and talent. I have to become knowledgeable and make those connections. So, it has helped me a ton as an individual, but it's also been a blessing because I've been able to do, learn, and experience things I don't think I would have been able to do otherwise.
For XSET, I've been able to meet different rappers, travel to various events, work with the NFL, and work with different musicians. So, overall it's a huge blessing for me. Seeing the results of my hard work makes me realize what I'm actually doing."
FNCS Invitational 2022 crowd and stage
What is your most prestigious accomplishment in your illustrious esports career?
Jacob PR: "In terms of casting, it has to be the [FNCS] Invitational. Coming from managing players like Aydan, Saf, and some of the most prominent people in Fortnite, people don't realize how much of a fan I am of these players. Going from that to being on the international stage, casting the biggest in-person event since 2019, it's a dream come true. I will never be able to think about that moment and not feel a certain way.
You just cast 12 of the most intense Fortnite matches last weekend at the FNCS Invitational. What was it like to be back in person, and how did it feel to watch such high-level gameplay?
Jacob PR: "I have a different background than some of the other Fortnite talent. I started in person before COVID in Gears of War. People might look at Gears of War and think it's a small game, but people need to realize how big Gears of War was in Mexico City and those international events. So, that was a huge experience and preparation for a stage like the Invitational.
Some people might get nervous in front of a crowd, but I get chills and use that as energy. I have to give the crowd their money's worth. They paid not only for the ticket but also for the hotel and flight. They put a lot of money forward, and countless hours went into it for the players on stage, from practice to the hours outside of practice.
It was one of those moments that will follow me for the rest of my days, even back when I was casting in those Mexico City crowds. It was surreal to know that you are part of it, and that's one of my favorite things."
Talk us through the last game, where Queasy and Veno shockingly contested Kami and Setty. What went through your mind as you watched it unfold?
Jacob PR: "For that, it makes me laugh thinking about it. Like I said, I come from different games other than Fortnite. I remember all the times I asked Bizzle, 'Bro, why don't you just land him? You're not going to win if you don't land on him.' By not landing on them, you're hoping they have a bad game. In that position for Kami and Setty, they had four Victory Royales out of 11 games.
You hoping they have a bad game is basically you saying you are okay with second because they're playing their game. I've asked that so many times to so many different players. What you guys heard was my raw reaction when it finally happened. More words were going around my head than what actually came out. It was like someone was finally doing it. Somebody is taking their own game into their own hands.
I hope everyone realizes the situation between second place landing on first and 50th landing on first. There's a huge difference between those two scenarios, so seeing that play out after years of talking about it with some big names was incredible. It's also a good lesson in life; if you want something, you have to go after it like Queasy and Veno."
Which duos impressed you most on the international stage?
Jacob PR: "Probably Phzin and Kitoz from Brazil. For a region that goes on at the same time as NA East, people don't necessarily give it the same shine it deserves. For people to come out of nowhere for Brazil, including K1ng and Ed, for Brazilian teams to get top 10, surprised me so much."
Jacob PR believes Setty and Kami (pictured above) are the Fortnite GOATs
I'm curious who you believe is the Fortnite GOAT and why?
Jacob PR: "You have to say Setty and Kami as of now. I feel like you have to, and other opinions don't matter. They've done it countless times at in-person events and in different game modes. I think, undisputed, it's between one of them two, and I'll let them fight it out because I'm a fan of both.
I don't even think myself, as a caster, did them justice for that big moment because when they've done it before, it wasn't through aggression. It was through placement and playing a solid game. This time, they outworked everyone on that international stage, so they are the best team in the world."
What's next for Jacob? There's going to be a small break, it seems, for Fortnite competitive, so what will you do while we all wait for the next announcement?
Jacob PR: "I'll break this up into two parts. In terms of XSET, there will be a big announcement for myself, and I hope everyone supports it. It's going be a great change of pace for people that have watched me grow. I'm not saying this for the organization as a whole because we've been blowing everything out of the water, so this might not be the biggest change for the organization. For myself, that one is soon to come.
In terms of my esports casting, I hope Fortnite keeps me around. I've constantly been improving, and this is some of the best casting I've done in my entire career, not just in Fortnite. I thank Fortnite for being able to help develop me and help me find myself as a person. So, I can only hope Fortnite keeps me around.
In terms of myself, I want to host my own Zone Wars league. I'll start small and see where we can build it. Obviously, it's going to be the 3v3 because I think a lot of players love playing that in their free time. I'm trying to figure out how to stat track it and put on a show once a week to invest and give back to the community."
You can catch Jacob PR on Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube at the provided links and on many of Fortnite's most significant broadcasts.
Matthew "MJP" Pryor
Editor | Twitter @MJP_FN
Matt “MJP” Pryor began following esports in 2008 when Halo 3 was on top of the world. He is now a Fortnite fanatic who has watched the game’s casual and competitive development since the 2019 Fortnite World Cup. Matt plays the game often while reporting on everything from skin collaborations to tournaments and everything in between.