You’ve probably seen several VPN service adverts online. The reason for this is the intensified focus on security and privacy by many internet users. The promise of improved performance and privacy protection has appealed to many gamers.
An excellent way to understand what a gaming VPN is and whether you need one is to examine what it does to a gamer and gaming.
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What is a Gaming VPN?
A VPN is a program that hides your IP address and encrypts your internet connection to keep your online presence anonymous. Meanwhile, a gaming VPN is a virtual private server that focuses on enhancing your experience while protecting your security.
The benefits to your gaming largely depend on your service provider.
There are two types of VPN:
- Corporate VPN. Organizations use corporate VPNs to secure the data transacted by their employees. Corporate VPNs comprise encrypted tunnels that allow employees to access their organization’s network and private resources, including company files and documents. In essence, a corporate VPN allows you to use a dedicated IP that will enable you secure access to your organization’s data.
- Consumer VPN. Consumer VPNs comprise most of the advertisements you may have seen, including those for gamers. A consumer VPN also comprises an encrypted tunnel which connects your PC to a VPN provider’s server, which connects to the internet. Thus, to everyone on the open internet, your IP address is the VPN server, making it difficult for anyone to trace your location. This inception allows gamers to participate in multiplayer games without fear that their IP addresses will be exposed to their colleagues.
Why Is it Important for Gamers to Protect Their IP Address?
Your PC’s IP address is like your physical street address. Anyone who knows your home’s address, including mischievous individuals, can come to your place.
For computers, an IP address lets other users know its location and can assist hackers connect to your computer.
Hackers can use your IP address data to execute DDoS attacks. These attacks involve a hacker flooding a user’s IP address with excessive internet traffic, so their connection slows down and eventually goes offline. All an attacker needs to launch this attack is your IP address.
Thus, a DDoS attack can prevent you from participating in online games. But you wouldn’t need to worry about these attacks with a VPN.
Do I Need a Gaming VPN?
Perhaps you’ve already established from the discussions above that as a gamer, you need a gaming VPN.
Privacy and anonymity while gaming aren’t the only reasons you need a gaming VPN. Other reasons include:
- Protection against swatting
- To avoid bandwidth throttling
- To play restricted and banned games
Protection Against Swatting
Swatting isn’t common, but it could occur in multilayer games where one player may decide to track and stalk another participant. A disgruntled game loser may decide to stalk you online and offline, take over your social media or even plant a virus into your computer.
Swatting is a type of harassment where the harasser calls the emergency services to another individual’s home, citing a bomb threat, emergency, or hostage crisis. These cases have the potential to escalate and turn deadly.
Avoid Bandwidth Throttling
ISPs have been known to slow down or throttle bandwidth to ease network congestion. Others install software that automatically slows down connectivity when they detect specific traffic volume. These programs can activate when sharing or gaming, interfering with your gaming.
A VPN hides your online activities, making it difficult for the ISP to determine whether you’re surfing, streaming or playing online games. Some premium VPNs can even switch ports and make it even more complicated for ISPs to limit your data use.
Play Restricted and Banned games
Some countries restrict and even ban specific video games based on their content. For example
- Germany banned games that encourage Nazism
- Australia banned games that have nudity, sexual content, violence, drug use, and graffiti
- Venezuela banned games with gun violence
- The UK restricts games with sexual content or excessive violence
- China banned any game it considers as pushing an agenda contrary to its interest
A VPN allows you to bypass these restrictions by connecting to a server in a region where the games aren’t restricted or banned.