Most people associate the use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) as a security solution for bolstering internet security and privacy. As such, it is easy to assume that it has no application for gaming, which is not the case at all. In this article, we’ll be investigating the best VPN for gaming on your mobile device, we’ll also be covering the following:
Why You Should Use a VPN When Gaming
In a 2015 study by Statista ( a database company), it was found that roughly 2.7 billion monthly average users (MAU) play games on their Android or iOS device. That number is likely much higher today as mobile devices have become more mainstream. Nevertheless, if you count yourself among them, then you may want to consider using a VPN service for your mobile gaming, and for a good reason.
As you may already know, a VPN service helps secure user privacy online by disguising your IP address and encrypting the data that you send or receive over the Internet. These services can also be used to circumvent geo-blocking restrictions by routing data to an external VPN server. As such, VPNs are generally used by people looking to maintain a safe environment for their online activities or stream videos that are normally unavailable in their region.
Over the years, the line between mobile devices and fully-fledged computers have blurred completely. Nowadays, you can find smartphones that are just as powerful (if not more) as laptops or desktop computers. You can do just about everything on an Android or iOS device as though you were on a computer, and gaming is only one of them. Unfortunately, that also means that smartphone users are subject to the same risks as far as security and privacy are concerned.
If you play online games on your smartphone, then you likely shop and do your banking on the same device as well. Hence, it makes sense for gamers to start using a VPN and be wary of any personal information that they are sharing online. For this reason, many VPN companies have begun targeting mobile gamers in a bid to expand their user-base with broad claims like “improved gaming experience” and whatnot. If you are reading this, then you are probably wondering whether these claims have any merit. To find out, we’ll need to dig deep into the pros and cons of using a VPN for gaming.
We reckon you’d also want to take a look at some of your best options for a VPN service as a mobile gamer. Only then can you decide whether that service is worth spending any amount of time and money.
The Advantages of Using a VPN When Gaming
Prevent Bandwidth Throttling
Do you often have to put up with a laggy gaming experience on your Android or iOS device? Perhaps there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with your Internet connection as far as browsing or video streaming is concerned? If so, then there’s a chance that your connection is being “throttled” by your ISP (Internet Service Provider).
Bandwidth throttling can be described as any protocol designed to limit one’s internet speed when used extensively for a specific application (gaming). Your ISP implements the latter to counter network congestion by making sure that no user hogs so much of the available bandwidth that it adversely affects the experience of others.
Without a VPN, your ISP can see how much bandwidth you are using for mobile gaming and throttle your connection as necessary. If you want to prevent bandwidth throttling, then you will have to use a VPN service to mask your gaming activities online.
Access to Better Server Performance
Even without bandwidth throttling, people can experience severe ping and latency issues when playing certain games. One reason is that the game developer might be using servers that are just too far from you. This is often the case for new games with limited server resources and thousands of users from around the world all vying to play the game.
If the scenario described above fits into the problem that you’re having, then this is another area wherein access to a VPN service can be helpful to your gaming experience. If the game servers are just too far from where you live, you can route your gaming sessions to a VPN server that’s closer to the region. Doing so can help reduce server latency, which makes for a more enjoyable mobile gaming experience.
Circumvent Geo-block Restrictions and Access to More Game Titles
Heard of a new game but can’t seem to find it on Google Play or App Store? Well, there’s a good chance that the game isn’t available for your region. If you really want to play the game, then you’d be glad to know that you can circumvent such restrictions using a VPN service. You can play the game as normal by routing your connection to a VPN server located in a region that the developers cater to.
A VPN can prove helpful in expanding your game library even if you don’t have a particular game title in mind. Most gamers find that they have a lot more games to choose from in the Google Play or App Store with their VPN turned on.
Play Your Mobile Games Wherever You are in the World
If you travel a lot and don’t want to miss out on your mobile gaming sessions, then you can turn to a VPN service for help. No matter where you are in the world, you can route your connection to a VPN server at home and play your game with your online buddies as though you’ve never left home.
Protection from DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks
It doesn’t usually happen, but you will never know when you might piss someone off over a heated game of Hearthstone only to find that the guy has the technical knowledge to target you with all sort of cybersecurity attacks. The most common of the latter is called a DDoS attack wherein an attacker sends an overwhelming amount of data request to a target IP address. It also doesn’t help that you can now pay someone on Fiverr to carry out a DDoS attack for as little as $5.
With a VPN backing your gaming sessions, you never have to worry about cybersecurity attacks like the one mentioned above. No one can see your real IP address which makes it impossible (if not very difficult) for possible attackers to track down your information.
Access to Geo-restricted perks and game features
In some popular mobile games like PUBG and Fortnite, players can win certain perks like limited skins and game events that are only available to players from specific regions. You can use a VPN to circumvent such restrictions and not miss out on anything just because you are playing from an excluded region.
The Disadvantages of Using a VPN When Gaming
Before you buy a VPN service, you should know that the latter also has its share of disadvantages. For one thing, using a VPN means that you’d be using an external server as a middleman between you and the game server. Naturally, you can expect an increase in latency and slower connection speeds, especially if you are using a VPN with robust encryption protocols like TCP (Transmission Control Protocol).
To mitigate performance issues, experts recommend using less restrictive protocols like PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, and SoftEther. These protocols are generally fast and a lot less likely to cause connection problems when gaming. Just know that some ISPs can block these protocols so you may have to experiment with the settings for a bit to come up with the best gaming experience.
It is also worth noting that not all games work with VPNs. There have been reports of people getting banned by game developers like Gameloft for using a VPN. This is usually not a problem unless you use the VPN to exploit the price difference of paid features (such as season passes) across different regions or do anything that might give you an unfair advantage over other players.
Last but not least is the fact that using a VPN will cost money (the best ones anyway). Still, it is well worth noting that a VPN service not only helps you make the most out of your mobile gaming sessions but protects your privacy as well. Most gamers would agree that a VPN subscription is a small price to pay for the latter with fees running for as low as $2.99 per month ( 3-year plan with NordVPN)
Best VPN for Gaming on Your iOS Device
Are you convinced with the merits of using a VPN for gaming and wondering which one to choose for your iOS device? Well, you can never go wrong with NordVPN as they offer all of the advantages mentioned above. Their network of more than 5200 servers gets you access to all the mobile game titles you want along with adequate protection against bandwidth throttling and DDoS attacks.
Other VPNs for iOS that are worth considering:
Best VPN for Gaming on Your Android Device
Are you looking for a good VPN for gaming on an Android device? ExpressVPN is no doubt one of the best choices out there and for a good reason. They run one of the most expansive VPN networks out there, which ensures an enjoyable and secure mobile gaming experience.
As you can see above, ExpressVPN is also optimized to work with gaming consoles. This makes it a comprehensive choice for a gaming VPN.
Other VPNs for Android that are worth considering:
So there you have it — all that you need to know about using a VPN for mobile gaming! As you may have already realized, gaming VPNs are more than just marketing hype, and there are perfectly good reasons to start using one even among gamers. You may not necessarily be concerned about encryption and other security features, but it is well worth learning about the different ways a VPN can improve your gaming experience. Of course, the privacy and security that comes with using one doesn’t hurt either.