The videogame industry has grown tremendously over the years, well enough to become one of the most lucrative in the world even ahead of the film and music industries. A large part of this is down to the evolution of technology – namely the internet – since nowadays pretty much every game requires an internet connection in some way. Online games are on center stage with hundreds of millions of players connecting daily to play with or against other players from around the world.
There’s nothing better than getting home after a day of work or school and firing up the gaming PC or grabbing the controller of a favorite console to escape reality for a couple of hours. But everything can be ruined in seconds due to many such factors as geographical restrictions on titles or servers, slow speeds, high pings and more. For all those, a VPN is your best teammate.
Getting Games Sooner and Cheaper
Even if a certain game doesn’t have an online multiplayer component, players will still need to connect to the internet to download the latest updates, get the DLC, or even just to buy the game in the first place. This is where the first benefit of VPNs lies, as North America and Japan often get exclusivity rights for a couple of hours or even a day or two. And while there are many who don’t mind waiting for the scheduled regional release, others need to get that game or DLC they’ve been waiting for as soon is humanly possible.
Though some marketplaces base their customer location on the user’s payment details and not on their IP address – as is the case with Steam – others can be fooled by connecting a VPN to a country that is already selling the game. This not only allows for the early ordering of the game, in some cases it can even make the game cheaper; it is not completely trustworthy that VPNs can overcome fixed content prices, however. Australian gamers, for instance, are used to paying more than Americans and Europeans for titles and their DLC. If an online marketplace uses IP addresses to determine a user’s locations, then using a VPN to locate elsewhere and then logging back in should do the trick.
The same principle applies to countries in which certain games are not available or have some sort of limitation, such as the content censorship with World War II games in Germany, for example. German players with VPNs can connect to one of the nearby European countries and get the full, unedited version of the game just as the rest of the world sees it. It also works the other way around, too, allowing you to purchase games from other countries that might not be released in your country, have extended versions with more extras or bonus gameplay time.
Benefits For Online Gamers
Every online gamer knows that there are some aspects that need to be assured for a decent gaming session, and primary among them is decent speed and bandwidth. Just as when streaming or torrenting, playing online games has a significant impact on bandwidth and therefore ISPs are likely to start throttling the connection. VPNs are crucial here since they essentially ‘blind’ an ISP and as long as they don’t block any VPN traffic it should be enough to get back online for some more game time. And if you’re a regular streamer on Twitch then a VPN is essential; these programs disguise real IP addresses and can prevent frustrated players from ‘swatting’ you with hoax emergency calls or enacting any other real-life revenge against their online opponents.
Speaking of speed, it’s true that VPNs feature a high level of encryption that can have a severe effect on connection speeds. However, many VPN providers allow users to change between protocols or ports to lighten the load of encryption to ensure the best connections while still remaining anonymous and protected. In addition, plugging an Ethernet cable into the gaming computer or console will maximize the available speed and reduce the latency, which is a concern with wireless connections.
A VPN can help in lowering ping levels, too, the time between when the buttons are pressed and the game responds to the commands. The higher this is the more lag there will be and the more intolerable the game will become. This is often easy to solve by choosing a VPN location closer to the gaming server or to the host of the game.
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