*this article was written and published by a guest reporter*
Video games are awesome. They’re fun, relaxing, and a great way to socialize with friends when you can’t meet up in real life.
Of course, they stop feeling like that when you have to start unblocking games to enjoy them.
What’s Stopping You from Playing the Games You Want? Quite a lot of things, unfortunately. Here’s a quick look at the main reasons you might need to unblock video games or video game-related content:
- Region locks – Modern consoles don’t really use region locks, though older versions (like the Xbox and Xbox 360) still do. Also, DLCs bought in one region won’t work in a different one. Oh, and platforms like Steam use region locks for activation keys as well. What’s more, gaming servers can be region-locked too, preventing you from playing with your friends if you’re from a different country.
- Release dates – Games don’t always release simultaneously all over the globe. Sometimes, their release might be delayed by a few days in certain regions. That can be very annoying if you took time off work to binge a game during its original release date, only to later find out it arrives a few days (or worse, weeks) later in your area.
- Government censorship – Not all countries are gamer-friendly. Some of them actually ban video games for silly reasons. Australia is the best example. The country banned four video games in the first three months of 2019. And those are just some examples – the actual list of banned games in the country is much longer. Other countries that do the same thing include Brazil, China, Germany, and New Zealand.
- Firewalls – This usually happens at school or on school campuses. Basically, the learning institution forces network admins to block specific online games on the school network.
Whew, now that’s a lot of stuff to deal with just because you want to relax a few hours with a video game. Luckily, things don’t need to be complicated because there’s an easy solution.
So how can you unblock your favorite games? It’s simple – just use a VPN! A VPN is an online service that hides your IP address, making it extremely easy to bypass any restriction since gaming servers and stores can no longer see your real geo-location. Also, since a VPN encrypts your traffic too, firewalls can no longer control what you can and can’t access on the web.
Using a VPN is a walk in the park. Just download and install the app, run it, and connect to a VPN server. That’s it – once you’re connected, the server replaces your IP address with its own address and the client starts encrypting your traffic.
Other Uses for VPNs in Gaming
Unblocking games isn’t the only thing you can do with a VPN. Here are other ways it offers you a better gaming experience:
1. It can lower lag and ping times.
Believe it or not, using a VPN when you game can prevent packet loss, which is the main reason you get high ping times and annoying lag. Think of it this way – if you’re from the UK and use a VPN server in Japan to play on a Japanese gaming server, your traffic has a direct route: the VPN server -> the Japanese gaming server.
On the other hand, if you don’t use a Japanese VPN server, your traffic route might look something like this: the UK -> Italy -> Romania -> India -> Taiwan -> the Japanese gaming server. Easy to see how you get lag and high ping with the second option, right?
2. It keeps you safe from DDoS/DDoS attacks?
Sore losers are a part of the package when playing multiplayer video games, but if you’re unlucky enough, you might come across one who is hysterical enough to DoS/DDoS you. A DDos basically floods your network with unwanted traffic and requests to forcefully disconnect you from the server or web.
It sounds weird, but it can happen. Actually, it already has many times – here’s just one instance of a PS4 player using this method to disconnect other players from the PlayStation Network. When a DoS/DDoS attack can cost as little as $5 or just $10/hour, it’s not surprising that anyone can use them. But with a VPN, your IP address is hidden, so nobody can flood your network since they can’t find it. Plus, good VPN servers have anti-DoS/DDoS protection.
3. It helps you avoid IP bans.
Server admins can be sore losers too. They might just have a personal problem with you, or think you’re using cheats and exploits when – in reality – you just play like a pro. Whichever the case, if they throw an IP ban your way, it’s over – you can’t play on the server again until they decide to lift it.
Fortunately, a VPN can help you instantly bypass IP bans. The service hides your IP address, so you can keep reconnecting to the server as much as you want.
4. It prevents bandwidth throttling
Bandwidth throttling is when your ISP decides you’re using too much data on video games, so they lower your online speeds to prevent network congestion. At least that’s the reason they normally give. But they also do that to pressure you into buying pricier subscriptions and data plans.
A VPN can stop bandwidth throttling by encrypting your traffic. Since your ISP can’t see what you do online, they can’t selectively lower your speeds.
Picking the right VPN
It's important to make sure you pick the right VPN. If you don’t, you might end up with a service with poor speed optimization, lack of server variety, no lightweight protocols, and bandwidth caps. Basically, everything that could ruin your gaming sessions.