The Sony PlayStation 5 (PS5) is stacking up to be one of the hottest worldwide holiday season releases of 2020. In head-to-head competition with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, PS5 is the runaway winner. Its predecessor, PS4, doubled the sales of Xbox at a whopping 110 million.

PS5 consoles are in high demand and are currently sold out almost everywhere. Online shoppers through eBay and stockX, for example, are eagerly paying nearly twice the $500 retail price—that is, if they can find them. Globally, the demand for PS5 has outstripped Xbox by a factor of 57% to 43%.

Gaming consoles like PS5 and Xbox are no longer just digital media and game players. PS5, for example, comes with a strictly digital model and requires internet access. PS5 comes with its own browser, which can also access streaming services like Netflix.

So, in these days of pranksters, hackers, and angry gamers, a PS5 VPN (virtual private network) is a must on three levels: security, streaming access, and best speed.


Setting Up a VPN on Game Consoles

PlayStation, like Xbox and Smart TVs do not directly support VPNs. Users can, however, install smart DNS, which unlocks geographically restricted access to popular entertainment services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, etc.

Users who want to take full advantage of the protection a VPN provides must first install a VPN on their router. Doing so automatically protects any devices, including the PS5 console whose internet access is through the router.

The next steps include setting up the Internet connection (Wi-Fi or cable) on the PS5 console and accepting the default network specs.


Why a VPN is necessary for Gamers

A VPN is an encrypted and secured web connection between the PS5 console and the internet. When data flows through the VPN connection, it is private and cannot be intercepted or interfered with by anyone.

A VPN is an indispensable online security tool for gamers, who typically spend many hours on the internet. While enjoying game playing online with friends, a VPN ensures privacy and security.

Likewise, a premium VPN can also improve the gaming experience by:

1. Masking the user’s original location for wider access to geographically restricted (i.e., geoblocked) games--improved availability

2. Protecting gamers from game interference by cyber attackers--guaranteed security

3. Improving the game experience through speedier connections--enhanced performance


1. Improved Availability

A VPN allows access to PS5 games not available in all areas because of graduated scheduled release dates. With a VPN connection, the user can access the latest game releases the day they come out, even if unavailable in the user’s location. As previously noted, a VPN shows the user’s PS5 console as connected from a location authorized to access the game and entertainment libraries.

Access banned/censored games

Some countries ban video games because of content or type. Residents of Australia and Great Britain, for example, are blocked from downloading games with violent, sexual, or drug-use content. In Venezuela users are blocked from downloading any game whose object is to shoot other human beings.

A VPN bypasses government game censorship.

Benefits to other online game streaming users

Some game manufacturers have been known to block user IP addresses. There have even been cases where gamers have been arbitrarily banned or “timed-out” for no valid reason or for inadvertently violating the user agreement. Connecting to a game server via a VPN gives the user a new IP address to start fresh and regain access.

Finally, many service providers have ways to detect VPN use. However, a quality VPN with a wide selection of servers can allow the user to hop around and find a server that the game site has not identified as a an unauthorized VPN server.


2. Guaranteed Security

In addition to “dying” during an online war game, multi-player gamers are vulnerable to a variety of online attacks:

Stalking and Swatting

While not widespread, there have been cases where gamers in multiplayer games become disgruntled and stalk other players. When that player finds someone’s IP address, they can carry their disruptive behavior to extremes and hack into social media accounts, track down the user’s location, and even stalk the person offline.

There have also been rare cases where the harassment has deteriorated to the potentially dangerous prank of swatting. Someone calls 911 to report an emergency situation at the victim’s home.

Again, a VPN masks the user’s address so that the user cannot be tracked or located.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

A DDoS attack is where the culprit uses special software to force the user offline. The culprit essentially overloads the victim’s game connection with more access requests than it can handle, crashing the user’s connection.

So, anyone trying to use the DDoS method against a VPN user could not find the user’s masked connection.

Staying Safe on a Public Wi-Fi Connection

Computer gamers away from home can use a VPN to safely play games on public Wi-Fi. While public Wi-Fi hotspots connect the user to the internet, they are not secure and pose a number of threats:

--As unencrypted networks, public Wi-Fi networks expose the user’s location and any data transmitted between the device and the internet. Hackers use

a variety of ways to spy on unprotected users in public in order to see everything the user does online.

--The most common public Wi-Fi threat is the man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, where an attacker intercepts data traveling between the user’s computer and the internet. The attacks can be live or delayed. For example, the attacker can plant malware through software vulnerabilities and install a bot, Trojan, or virus on the user’s device.

As the best safeguard against MITM, a premium VPN works on many devices with a variety of security features, including military-grade encryption. Even if a hacker may somehow intercept the user’s gaming connection, it will appear as encrypted gibberish to the hacker.


3. Enhanced Performance

A VPN reduces lag and ping times. Lag is the delay in time between sending a keyboard, mouse, or game controller command and when the game responds. Ping is the time it takes for data to travel to and from the game server.

Using a VPN to connect to a game server can reduce ping times and therefore lag. The VPN bypasses bandwidth throttling. Bandwidth throttling is what causes the slowdown in performance as the provider restricts user bandwidth to mitigate internet congestion.


More About Throttling Bandwidth

Bandwidth throttling is a common practice among free VPN providers to reallocate the bandwidth to paying clients. Some providers restrict the bandwidth when they detect gaming and streaming. Others throttle when they observe that a specific amount of data is being transferred. Using a VPN will bypass both those practices.

While the amount of data a game uses varies by game, players who play for more than a few hours a day may find they reach a data cap and a slowdown in performance fairly quickly without the masking provided by a VPN.


The Best VPNs for PS5

There are many premium (subscription-based) VPNs that provide privacy and protection for a variety of devices. Some, like Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections as well as easy-to-understand setup guidance. However, only a few—Surfshark included--are compatible with gaming consoles like PS5 and Xbox.

As previously noted, the key to protecting PS5 online gaming is through the router. Setting up a VPN through the Wi-Fi router is the simplest option. There are some services like ExpressVPN that provide routers with pre-installed VPNs. Not all routers are VPN compatible.

Other options include using a VPN with the PS5 console through a Mac or PC. This is an option for those who prefer not to route all household devices through a VPN.


Summary and Takeaways

The PS5 will be the most popular gaming console of 2020 and 2021. Like the Xbox, this console is not just a game player; it is an internet device and must be protected against hackers and identity thieves.

While PS5 does not directly support VPNs, it can be configured with Amart DNS to bypass geographic streaming restrictions. One way to use a VPN on PS5 is to connect the console to the internet and route the connection through a VPN-enabled router.

A VPN is a necessary precaution for online gamers. It masks the user’s location and IP address. That masking allows the user to access game releases anywhere in the world and bypass game release delays.

A VPN also enhances online performance by bypassing and censorship. A VPN also protects online gamers from stalking distributed denial of service attacks. Gaming on public Wi-Fi connections can be masked through a VPN and safeguard against so-called man-in-the-middle attacks.

A VPN also enhances online performance and speed by bypassing bandwidth throttling.

The best VPNs for PS5 are the few premium providers who can connect to game consoles like PS5. The fasted setup is through installing a VPN on a router, which protects every device on the router. The next step is to connect the PS5 console to the internet through the VPN-protected router or via a Mac or PC connection.

 

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