7 Ways a VPN Can Enhance Your Online Gaming Experience

* This is a contributed article and this content does not necessarily represent the views of Player One.
7 Ways a VPN Can Enhance Your Online Gaming Experience
7 Ways a VPN Can Enhance Your Online Gaming Experience Pixabay / Medlem sedan

VPNs are one of the most useful tools for securing personal data and ensuring online security. Yet the benefits of using a VPN go far beyond just those two things. A high-quality VPN for gaming can significantly improve the online experience while playing with your friends. This article takes a closer look at seven key ways a VPN can enhance your online gaming experience.

No More Bandwidth Throttling

Many online games tend to be quite graphics intensive, meaning they require a significant amount of bandwidth. For this reason, serious gamers usually choose to pay more for internet plans that give them the data transfer speeds they need. Hypothetically, such plans mean that your ISP should limit your bandwidth little — if at all.

Yet an increasing amount of evidence suggests that ISPs often throttle bandwidth even when a customer remains within their monthly limits. This commonly happens when an ISP sees that you are consuming significant amounts of bandwidth for a certain application — in this case, playing video games online.

ISPs usually claim that they throttle bandwidth to reduce network congestion at key times. Yet just as often they seem to use throttling as a way to try and talk customers into upgrading their plans. A better — and less costly — solution is to use a VPN when gaming. A VPN encrypts your online traffic, meaning your ISP can't monitor what you're doing, and won't be able to penalize you for your gaming.

Work Around Geo-Blocking

There's no getting around the fact that video games can be expensive. So naturally, consumers want to buy a particular game from the least expensive source — even if that source happens to be located in a different country. Unfortunately, many game companies have begun to restrict consumer freedom through the use of geo-blocked activation keys.

Geo-blocked activation limit competition and ensure that game makers maximize profits by preventing cross-border sales. The European Commission recently published a statement outlining their preliminary view that geo-blocking tactics break EU antitrust rules. Yet these practices still remain legal in Europe and many other parts of the world.

Fortunately, consumers can avoid unfair geo-blocking through the use of a VPN. Geo-blocking relies on location information contained within your IP address. By replacing your IP address with an alternate one located in whatever region you want, you can effectively out-manoeuvre geo-blocking in order to buy games from the provider of your choice.

Access Unreleased and Banned Games

Geo-blocking isn't just used to restrict where you can and cannot purchase video games. Geo-blocking also limits your access to games that haven't been released in your region yet. Nobody wants to have to spend days and even weeks waiting for a game to be released in their country. A VPN provides the perfect workaround to this problem, allowing you to connect to a server located in a country where the game has already been released.

This same strategy works for those who can't access games because they have been banned in their country. For instance, Australia has banned dozens of games in the last couple of decades because of themes they deem inappropriate. A VPN allows you access those games and make those kinds of value judgements yourself.

Finally, certain gaming systems such as Xbox Live and PSN release exclusive games that cannot be accessed from every country. If you have dedicated your time and into these systems, there is no reason you should be penalized for your enthusiasm just because you don't live in the right part of the world. A VPN ensures that you can access all exclusive content.

Avoid IP Bans

It's natural for people to become emotionally invested over the course of a multi-player online game. Ideally, you can keep such emotions in check, preventing them from impacting others in a negative way. Yet not everybody will show the same restraint at all times. Sore losers might even complain to game administrators that you have been cheating.

Bogus claims like that can get you unfairly banned from your favourite game site. In many cases, the ban works by targeting your IP address. In other words, by changing your IP address with a VPN, you can continue to access your preferred gaming websites, despite attempts by other users to prevent you from doing so.

Ensure Low Latency

Serious gamers most appreciate the importance of ping. A ping is a signal sent from your computer to a server — and then back — in order to measure latency. Latency is simply a time-based way of expressing the quality of your connection. Many people refer to ping time and latency interchangeably.

In many ways, your latency is even more important than your upload and download speeds. Ping represents the amount of time it takes from data to move between your computer and whatever server is hosting the game you are playing. The longer the latency, the more likely you are to suffer from unwanted lag.

A low latency, by contrast, means that your mouse and keyboard inputs will respond more quickly. This gives you the competitive edge necessary to win multiplayer online games. By reducing lag, a low latency also means that your gaming experience will remain as smooth and pleasant as possible.

Using a VPN can often lead to improvements in latency. The farther your computer and the gaming server are separated, the more marked this improvement will be. By choosing an ISP located more closely to the game server, you can reduce the distance that your signal has to travel, thus lowering latency and keeping gameplay quick and responsive.

Prevent DDoS Attacks

Remember those vengeful fellow gamers discussed above — the ones who complained to admins about your success during the game? In some cases, such disgruntled players won't stop at simply slandering you. They might take the next step and attack you directly using a distributed denial of service attack, or DDoS attack for short.

You may have heard of DDoS attacks from the news , as they have been used by hackers to shut down many high-profile websites in the past. A DDoS attack forces a system offline by flooding it with a massive number of requests, more than the system can handle. DDoS attacks can also be targeted against individuals.

In order to do so, the attacker simply needs your IP address. Then they can flood your network connection with an excessive amount of traffic, effectively forcing you offline. But with a VPN, you can virtually eliminate the risk of DDoS attacks, thanks to the fact that your IP address remains completely masked by the VPN.

Enjoy Multiplatform Security

The gaming world today embraces a variety of different platforms. Mobile phones, in particular, have been gaining an increasing share of the gaming market, thanks to their ability to let gamers play on the go. Many players even switch back and forth, continuing gameplay between different devices as convenient.

While convenient, this tactic can leave unprotected devices vulnerable to security threats, poor latency, and other problems. Fortunately, a top VPN provider understands the multiplatform nature of gaming today. As a result, you can install VPN apps not just on your computers, but also on your Android and iOS devices.

A reliable VPN service can benefit just about anybody. But for dedicated gamers, a VPN should be considered essential.

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