Getting the gaming experience right can be tricky. You’ve sorted out your display and sound system, installed the right graphics card for your PC, and ensured you have a good seating position. Before long, you’ll perhaps be distracted by cooling for top performance, or maybe develop an interest in live streaming.
But what about the advantages that using a virtual private network (VPN) might bring? Whether you have it set up on your gaming PC or console — or on your home router — a VPN account can improve the gaming experience in ways you maybe didn’t consider.
Below, we’re going to look at seven reasons you should subscribe to a paid VPN service to enhance your gaming experience. Which VPN service you use is totally your call, but our list of the best VPN services should help.
1. Play New Titles First!
Everyone wants to get their hands on the newest games, but launch dates can be frustrating. Often, games are released at different times around the world. They may release during the same week, but even so, a few days difference can impact your performance long-term.
So, what can you do about it?
With a paid VPN (don’t use free VPNs) installed on your PC, router, or console, you’ll find that you’re able to connect to a game server on the other side of the planet via a server in the same region. This simple feature of VPNs could be the difference between playing the new game today, and waiting a week.
2. Play While Traveling
You’re normally based in North America, but you have to head to, say, Japan. How on Earth will you maintain a connection with your usual gaming server? As soon as you connect to the internet in the destination country, you’re often forced to use the local servers.
The solution lies with a VPN. With a high-quality, fast service featuring a wide choice of servers, you can simply connect to a VPN server in your home country. Once the game is loaded up, you should see that you can access your usual preferred game servers.
Thus you can jump on your home servers even across the world. Just make sure you keep your laptop plugged in — and watch those roaming data charges!
3. Access Xbox Live and PSN Exclusives From Anywhere
Feel like you’re missing out? Heard about a new PlayStation Network exclusive that you want to play but can’t, because of where you live? You’re not alone.
But there is a solution. With a VPN, all you need to do is switch your connection to a VPN server in the country where the exclusive is available. Login, grab the exclusive, and enjoy! Note that you may need to retain your connection to the appropriate server to play the game, however.
4. Cut Ping Times and Latency
With a fast connection to a VPN server in the same region as the gaming server, you can reduce lag and ping times. When it comes to online games, speed is more than a matter of simply having a fast download and upload speed. Any ISP can provide this.
Ping, meanwhile, is the reaction time — the duration between data being sent and received. A ping of 50 milliseconds is the time it takes your computer to respond to a request from another machine.
The lower the ping, the better. Online games will display your ping rate, which should remain under 1,000 to avoid being hit by network delays. User a VPN to help here, so that you don’t face a disadvantage in the gaming arena!
5. Play Multiplayer Titles in Any Region
Players can also access region-locked multiplayer games via a VPN. Common reasons for a this include when a game is yet to launch where you live, or because servers are grouped for language purposes.
Whatever the reason, with a good quality VPN subscription, you can circumvent any region-blocking (just as you might for TV-on-demand services). Again, simply switch the VPN server you usually use with one in the region where the game is based. A few minutes later, you’ll be knee-deep in dungeon-style multiplayer carnage!
6. Protect Your Data
Online gaming servers require constant attention from admins, who monitor performance and security. Patching occurs regularly, both at the server end, and on the game client, to deal with security issues.
Should a hacker find vulnerabilities in the game you’re playing, they can exploit them. This might mean that they break into your account and steal your in-game inventory and gold collection. Worse still, malicious folk could hijack your game connection and use it to gain access to personal data on your PC.
However, a VPN can stop this. With an encrypted connection to your game server, it will be difficult for an attacker to access your game account. They’ll ignore your connection in favor of some low-hanging fruit — an account (or perhaps computer) that they can gain easy access to.
7. End ISP Throttling
You like your ISP, right? They give you vast amounts of bandwidth, the top speeds, and perhaps even a free static IP address. In return, you tell all your gaming buddies about how great that ISP is, and they sign up too.
Occasionally you get some bad connections to your games, though, and you assume it’s just because “all my neighbors are online.” And while there is a truth to this, it’s not quite as straightforward as it may seem. ISPs use throttling to reduce overuse, supposedly to reduce network congestion, and give all users a uniform experience.
This can, of course, result in your gaming suffering.
Throttling occurs when your ISP inspects data packets and identifies them as coming from online gaming (or, in other circumstances, streamed TV services like Netflix). But employ a VPN and your data packets are encrypted. Your connection, therefore, cannot be inspected, and your connection won’t slow down from throttling. Much business traffic is encrypted — slowing these customers down would be very expensive for your ISP.
Start Using a VPN When Gaming
As you can see, the reasons to use a VPN for gaming are pretty compelling. A virtual private network might even be considered vital for fast, uninterrupted gaming. While you might feel confident that you don’t need a VPN for offline games, online multiplayer is another matter. Let’s review why you might need a VPN for gaming:
- Play new titles first.
- Reduce ping times.
- Cut latency.
- Access gaming network exclusives.
- Play region-blocked multiplayer titles or game servers.
- Protect your data with encryption, and evade DDoS attacks.
- Stop being a victim of ISP data throttling.
Of course, that’s only seven reasons for gamers to use a VPN. You might be able to think of more. Why not tell us below?
Image Credits: Danilo Sanino/Shutterstock