LOCKDOWN has meant much of our lives moving online – not just with Skype meetings or Zoom family quizzes, but for some, competitive sports too. Last week, we saw avid gaming fan and tennis star Andy Murray triumphing with a 7-6 win over David Goffin in the final of the Virtual Madrid Open.

While staying indoors and playing video games all day is still frowned upon, during lockdown it’s become a far more acceptable way to spend the time. And for many, it’s a potential gateway to a very lucrative career.

By 2023, the British gaming industry is expected to be worth £10bn; last year, 6.6 billion hours of eSports videos were watched worldwide. In the USA, eSports competitions have prizes that can reach $200,000 for a single victory. The industry is booming and has overtaken Hollywood in terms of its worth. With the potential to reach large and engaged audiences, we are seeing more and more companies invest in eSports through sponsorship, advertising and influencer marketing, which is only going to continue to grow.

Glasgow Clyde College is working closely with the British eSports Association to further the growth of gaming in education. It is currently the only college in Scotland offering a qualification in eSports.

There is much more to the art of gaming than just how to win. The BTEC in eSports course covers everything from back-end game development to in-game commentary, strategy, branding, marketing, streaming and the psychological elements of loss, pressure, mindset and competition.

The qualification is aimed at aiding game players into professional eSports and the related job roles. Beyond playing competitively, the industry offers a wide variety of careers – from technical to creative to psychology based – and we are working to ensure we are able to offer routes into all of them.

Last month, one of our Glasgow Clyde College eSports teams, the Clyde Hot Shots, won silver at the British eSports Championships, the final of which was streamed live on viewing platform Twitch by thousands of gamers worldwide. The team comprised of three computing students who have been playing competitively for almost a year, facing off against high-ranking teams in the competition and training non-stop outside of class hours.

We have invested in modern facilities across our campuses for students to learn, broadcast and promote, as well as collaborate and compete. Given we are all confined to our homes at the moment, it’s a perfect time to consider whether gaming could be more than just a hobby.