The question of whether you should use a VPN for gaming can usually be rephrased into whether you can afford to use a VPN for gaming. Because connecting to a virtual private network is always a good idea, but that doesn’t automatically make it feasible in every scenario.
Why to use a VPN for gaming
The advantages of using a VPN while gaming are pretty much identical to the overall pros of encrypting and anonymizing your network traffic. Online privacy is simply not something that’s a given nowadays, so if your level of caring about that stuff is high enough for you to attempt actively avoiding being caught in e.g. Google’s omnipresent spying machinery posing as an advertising network, it’s imperative for you to use a VPN.
The secondary benefit to gaming with a VPN is having access to servers that might otherwise be unreachable. Granted, there aren’t that many reasons for wanting to do so, but that isn’t to say we’ll talk down any solution that expands consumer choice.
In conclusion, if digital privacy is something that concerns you to any degree, you should seriously consider gaming over a VPN. With that said, you should also be aware how VPNs are inherently a compromise solution requiring you to sacrifice some convenience in exchange for enhanced Internet security and – by extension – privacy.
Why not to use a VPN for gaming
The main downside to using a VPN for gaming is, naturally, the likely performance degradation that comes with the territory. Even a slightly higher ping can be absolutely devastating in competitive shooters like Overwatch, so whether you can afford to use a VPN while gaming online largely depends on how reaction-based your preferred multiplayer experiences are.
Ultimately, there’s no escaping the fact VPNs slow down your Internet speeds, though that’s extremely dependent on where you’re located, as well as where your VPN provider’s servers are located. On the off chance you go with a service that has servers in your immediate vicinity, as well as at least one node in the immediate vicinity of the game servers you’re trying to access, you may not have to accept a huge latency increase at all.
Granted, that’s a big “if”, but it’s also not that unfeasible of a scenario if you’re based in the U.S.