Since the advent of the internet, many industries have seen a revolution. One such is the gaming industry. Thanks to the internet, online gaming has now become a separate industry within the gaming world. Millions of players play their favorite games online on PC and smartphones.
However, with the convenience and popularity, there are also potential risks such as doxxing, DDoS attacks, geo-blocking, and many more. This is why many players prefer using VPN when playing online games. Here, we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of using a VPN for online gaming.
Advantages of Using a VPN for Gaming
Protection from DDoS Attacks
DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks are a big threat in online gaming. Attackers can lag out of your game and knock you offline by flooding your internet connection with traffic.
When a VPN is enabled, your IP address is hidden. This makes it hard for DDoS attackers to get into your connection. Since the VPN server acts as an intermediary, it filters and absorbs out all such malicious traffic. You can download Surfshark app on multiple devices, as it provides you with all security, protection, and anonymity at affordable rates.
Avoiding Doxxing and Swatting
Unfortunately, doxxing and swatting have become real issues in competitive gaming scenes. Doxxing is when someone releases your personal information online, like your name, address, or phone number. Swatting is falsely reporting an emergency at your home to trigger a dangerous police response.
VPN adds an important layer of protection against doxxing and swatting. Players who don’t want to risk becoming victims of these crimes are wise to use a VPN.
Securing Financial Transactions
Lots of games feature in-game transactions for things like loot boxes, skins, and currency. There are also marketplaces where gaming items can be bought and sold for real money. Game developers provide a secure payment gateway, but it is our duty to protect our own data.
Making purchases and sales on these gaming marketplaces means entering sensitive financial details. Using a VPN secures this activity and may help prevent fraud or hacking attempts. This way, the third parties cannot track your IP address.
Access to Restricted Games
Some online games use IP blocking to restrict access based on geography. This is done for various legal and licensing reasons. With a VPN, gamers can tunnel into different countries and bypass these restrictions to access games not available locally.
In some cases, games are released in selected countries in the initial stage. So, if players want an early access to the game, they can use the VPN to try it. Plus, if a game is not released or not banned in your region, a VPN can be helpful to get your hands on it.
In some cases, using a VPN can actually improve your online gameplay. If your ISP is throttling your connection and causing lag or high ping, a VPN can reroute your traffic away from the throttling. Gamers with poor internet can sometimes get a smoother experience routing through a VPN server.
However, this doesn’t mean that every VPN will give you high speed. It is a general fact that a VPN can slow down your internet speed. When your ISP throttles your internet speed to an extreme level, a VPN can be your resort to solve the issue.
Disadvantages of Using a VPN for Gaming
Slower Connection Speeds
The most common complaint about gaming with a VPN is increased latency and lag. As I said already, VPNs are known to slow down your internet speed. All VPNs add some overhead that can increase ping times. This is especially true when connecting to a VPN server that is geographically distant.
The further data has to travel through the VPN tunnel, the more latency is added. In order to cope with this issue, you can use a server located near your region.
Violating Terms of Service
Before using VPNs for gaming, it is important to check their terms and conditions regarding use of VPN. Most gaming platforms prohibit the use of VPNs in their Terms of Service. However, we haven’t faced such an issue yet.
But it is important to be aware of such rules. Accessing games you haven’t purchased locally or hiding your location can be considered cheating. Getting caught gaming with a VPN could get your account suspended or banned.
There are some free VPNs, but they often lack performance and features. They seem identical to paid VPNs, but there is a vast difference regarding speed and performance.
For a fast, reliable VPN that works well for gaming, there is usually a monthly subscription cost. The price can range from just a few dollars per month up to $10-12. If you go for a longer contract, you can get a reputable VPN at $3-4 a month.
Setup and Configuration
To get the full benefit, a VPN needs to be properly set up for gaming. Factors like the server location, encryption level, and port forwarding all impact performance. Less tech-savvy users may find gaming VPNs difficult to configure optimally.
Potential Security Risks
All VPNs funnel your traffic through their servers, so you have to trust them. Some VPNs log user activity or have vulnerabilities that could expose your data. Choosing a reputable VPN provider is crucial, but the risks remain.
The Bottom Line
For most gamers, the potential upsides of using a VPN probably outweigh the downsides. Protecting your IP address and securing financial transactions are compelling benefits in the world of online gaming. Just be sure to choose a high-quality VPN designed specifically for gaming to minimize performance impacts. Check that using a VPN doesn’t violate the Terms of Service of your favorite games.
Most of the speed and lag issues can be avoided with the right VPN provider. The setup process can also be simplified significantly for less tech-oriented users. As with any security tool, there are trade-offs. But ultimately, a VPN can be invaluable for staying safe while you game online.