Ever wish you could use your video game skills to help get you through college? You may be in luck.

On September 6th, Twitch, the leading broadcaster of eSports, announced the winners of the first annual Twitch and Alienware Scholarship. First announced on June 5, 2012, the total scholarship prize for the five winning gamers amounts to $50,000, courtesy of Twitch in partnership with SteelSeries, Dell’s manufacturer of gaming peripherals, and Alienware, the leading name in custom gaming computers. The scholarship shows the strength of eSports as not only a growing entertainment industry, but one that can help elicit positive change in the lives of its participants.

“Some of our most loyal, passionate customers are students,” said Kim Rom, CMO, SteelSeries. “The passion that our customers show for gaming is absolutely infectious, and we want to support them in any way we can. We hope the scholarship money will help our customers turn their passion into a career.”

The five recipients, Kevin Carlino, John Stockwell, Antonio Revard, Joey Yurgelon and Kelli Dunlap will each receive a ten thousand dollar scholarship to help pay for college, and were selected based off of grades, gaming achievements and dedication to professional gaming.

The announcement has been seen as a major stepping stone for competitive gaming, as it is the first time that such a scholarship has been awarded. The timing of the scholarship comes only a few months after the Collegiate Starleague, host of Starcraft tournaments for college students, announcement of the world’s first annual gaming scholarship of a $1000, but the size of the Twitch & Alienware Scholarship shows that more awards for gamers to help pursue their careers in the field.

While eSports has long been a staple of entertainment in Korea and Japan, competitive gaming has only just begun to take off in the West. Last week, Seattle was host to The International 2, a Dota 2 gaming competition, which saw a large attendance in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall and over 567,000 viewers online. With a study by PBS showing that 90% of all young American men play some form of video games, the onset of gaming as a spectator sport is clearly on the way.

“Live video game streaming is gaining momentum quickly as evidenced by the traffic to Twitch as well as the increase in pro tournaments, partnerships, charity drives, developer showcases and sponsor interest,” said Emmett Shear, CEO of Twitch. “The avid professional gaming and spectator community has helped us thrive with more than 20 million visitors a month, and this scholarship is our way of showing appreciation for their passion while reinforcing our commitment to what we view as a legitimate sport.”