Why would you need a VPN for gaming? There’s a couple of reasons, but basically they boil down to throttling and geoblocking. A VPN is the only tool that can solve both problems.
Ever die in a game because it glitched at a crucial moment? That’s often due to throttling. ISPs usually oversell the amount of data they can actually carry, then manage data flows across their networks to mitigate the effects. That can include identifying data-hungry activities like gaming or streaming movies, and holding up that traffic to leave more space for everyone else.
ISPs have been caught doing this even when they’ve promised they won’t and it’s against the law, and gaming is a major target. Because it involves a lot of time-sensitive data, gaming is also more sensitive to throttling.
We’ve all been here: the game you want to play isn’t available in your country. Copyright holders do complex deals about when and if games become available in different areas, and the result is that you can’t play a game you’ve already signed up for and paid for if you’ve gotten on a plane since then.
Geoblocking usually works by identifying you via your IP address, meaning if you can change your IP address, you should be able to circumvent it.
VPNs can help gamers in a bunch of ways, not just those outlined above. By encrypting your traffic they stop your ISP from snooping and identifying it as game traffic, so it gets the same treatment as everyone else’s data and doesn’t get throttled. And by moving your traffic to another server, VPNs ensure that your public IP address changes and you appear to be located somewhere else.
Gamers need a VPN that’s three things: fast, secure, and obfuscated.
A VPN that slows your gaming experience down isn’t an improvement over your ISP’s shenanigans. So you have to pick one that offers good speed.
Speed can be measured two basic ways, bandwidth and latency, and for gaming, latency is the most important measurement. It shows how long it takes for a piece for data to travel across the network. Latency is typically measured as ‘ping.’ Though they technically aren’t quite the same thing, low ping is a good sign of good latency.
If you’re buying games or making in-game purchases you’re sending sensitive information across the internet. That makes you a target. Make sure the VPN you choose has good security and good privacy, then you can play in safety.
VPNs encrypt your traffic and conceal your IP address. But they don’t (all) conceal the fact that you’re using a VPN. So when sites want to enforce geoblocking, they just ban VPNs. Then, when you visit them, you get told to turn your proxy off before you can access the site.
But the best of modern VPNs offer a feature called obfuscation that basically conceals the fact that you’re using a VPN at all. Your traffic looks just like normal traffic and doesn’t set proxy-blockers off, so you can play whatever games you want, wherever you are in the world.