Is it ethical to use a VPN for online gaming?

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The approach of using a VPN when playing online games has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. Offering a dedicated VPN for gamers has been a sensible and profitable step for many of the industry’s most influential operators, and today, more than ever, players are rushing into multiplayer games backed by a VPN. However, there is still some ambiguity: why use a VPN for gaming?

Let’s investigate if a VPN is beneficial for gaming and what the benefits of utilizing a VPN for gaming are. We’ll also clarify whether it’s an action that will get you banned, as using a VPN can provide a player an unfair edge for some developers, publishers, and operators.

But what exactly is a VPN?

Let’s become acquainted with VPN technology. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are useful technologies that allow you to improve your digital security and access sites and services previously geo-restricted.

Given that a VPN encrypts all of your device’s incoming and outgoing information and hides your actual IP address, utilizing one can vastly improve your privacy and prevent nosy parties from watching what you do. And it’s relatively simple to set up a VPN and begin using it immediately.

By joining a server in another country, you can dupe websites into thinking you’re physically there because the VPN will allocate you a new, temporary IP address based on that location. This is known as “location spoofing,” it’s an essential incentive for any VPN, just like the security benefits. However, providers have begun to sell their products to gamers as well.

Is it illegal to play online with a VPN?

Using a VPN is viewed as malicious by many developers and publishers since it can give a player an unfair advantage over the competition. It can also bypass different game security features, such as geoblocking, which is cause for concern.

However, using a VPN while playing games is not illegal – you won’t get jail time for using a VPN while playing Warzone, for example. However, if you’re caught using a VPN while logged in and playing a multiplayer game, you could face a suspension or possibly a permanent ban.

It’s important to note that it greatly depends on your game, as some developers recognize the benefits of VPN for gaming. For example, the producers of PUBG have indicated that you can use a VPN in their game, but the makers of Overwatch 2, Fortnite, and World of Warcraft have stated unequivocally that they would not accept the usage of VPNs.

With all this in mind, should you use a VPN for gaming?

Gaming with a VPN: The benefits

Unblocking servers

Games, such as MMOs, which group people based on language or area, will frequently utilize your IP address to identify which server to connect to. However, a VPN allows you to place yourself anywhere on the world map and play with friends, even if they are thousands of miles away.

Titles are also released at different times all around the world. That’s because of time zones and licensing agreements. However, it may be frustrating to look forward to a release only to see other people enjoying it first because they live in the “right” region – and avoiding spoilers online is tricky at the best of times. Additionally, because a VPN allows you to switch between locations in seconds, you can connect to a place where the game is available.

Improving ping

Is there a more agonizing feeling than finally settling in to begin playing Baldur’s Gate and discovering that your internet is refusing to cooperate? There will be a noticeable delay with all your abilities, and the game will repeatedly freeze and stutter. Regarding laggy connections, MMOs and combat games suffer the most – and regrettably, a VPN is unlikely to assist. Since your VPN must perform additional work to encrypt your connection and send data through a (possibly) distant server, you will notice a tiny decrease in performance.

However, in certain circumstances, a VPN may boost your gaming experience. If your device is too far away from the gaming servers, connecting to a VPN server that is geographically nearby could make a difference.

Similarly, a VPN can circumvent ISP throttling, which is a method adopted by some unscrupulous providers to prevent gamers from taking all of the bandwidth, resulting in slow connections. The encryption provided by a VPN hides your online activities from your ISP. They won’t know if you’re gaming, browsing social media, or working on a Google Doc; therefore, they won’t be able to throttle your bandwidth.

Protection against DDoS assaults

One of the most crucial selling aspects of a gaming VPN is its protection against  ​​DDoS assaults. Even if you’re not familiar with the word, I’m sure you’ve had one at some point. A DDoS attack occurs when a thief floods an IP address with vast amounts of traffic that it cannot handle, forcing it offline.

While DDoS assaults concern anybody who relies on gaming servers, competitive players of the FGC trying to win money or points (or prestige) are particularly vulnerable to them. A DDoS attack can derail a player’s tournament run, and they can also be targeted, given how easy it is for someone with the necessary resources and know-how to conduct an attack. Fortunately, a VPN can thwart its objectives by masking your original IP address – because a DDoS assault needs an IP address to function.

The bottom line

It’s pretty subjective, but utilizing a VPN for gaming is generally beneficial – as long as it’s not used maliciously. It’s fair and above board if you’re attempting to remain safe or improve your experience. However, suppose you use a VPN to play in easier lobbies, circumvent bans, or gain access to stuff you’re legally barred from accessing. In that case, you’re breaching rules, potentially breaking laws, and becoming part of the problem.

Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes a learning specialist, designs and delivers learning initiatives (both in-class and online) for a global and internal audience. He is responsible for the ongoing development, delivery, and maintenance of training. He has the ability to manage competing priorities to execute time-sensitive deliverables within a changing environment. He contributes to continually improving the team's processes and standards and works as a member of the team to assist with team initiatives.

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