You may not be excited about wasting your precious hours on finding the best antivirus software for PC gaming, but then, who is? However, we cannot deny the fact that good antivirus software is of crucial importance when it comes to the safety and protection of your gaming system. A good antivirus for PC gamers is a great investment that you must do to keep that nasty malware and unnecessary popups at bay and improve your gaming experience.
If you have spent a lot of money on building your ideal gaming PC, you need to make sure all this money (along with your data) is protected by excellent antivirus software that is exclusively designed for PC gamers.
Many high-ranking antivirus software offers a gaming mode. A gaming mode is an exclusively programmed antivirus engine that keeps your gaming PC safe without slowing it down or interrupting the gameplay by pop-ups. Most of the gaming modes are almost identical; however, some give the x-factor that PC gamers hope for.
It is important to keep in mind that the antivirus software for PC gamers is hardware as well as operating system dependent. This means that the software won’t be compatible with all kinds of devices, so while looking for the best antivirus for your gaming PC, make sure the specs are good to go on your system. After all, you do not want to waste money on software that does not work for you (or your machine).
Features to Look for in an Antivirus Software for PC Gamers
As a PC gamer, the last thing you want is to have an overprotective firewall, annoying pop-ups, or CPU scans ruining your game. All you want is to have safe and secure gaming experience. The best way to make sure the antivirus software that you are buying will be adding value (and not disturbance) to your gaming experience is by considering the following features:
The main job of your antivirus software is to elevate your gaming experience, and not slowing it down. Your antivirus software needs to perform its security checks, without bringing your game and your machine to a standstill. Optimized antivirus software will make sure that it is best for your device, and that your gameplay runs in the best possible manner without the virus-checks hogging your PC down.
Your antivirus software should provide the value for money that PC gamers need. If you are investing your hard-earned money on your system’s protection, the antivirus should give you the performance, security, and satisfaction that you expect.
Isn’t this our top priority when we plan to buy a good antivirus software? Our PC knows so much about us and we would like to keep it between the two of us! The sites we visit, the searches we perform, the online shopping that we do, and the games we play. We need solid protection that not only scans the backend to make sure everything is fine, but it also does everything to make sure all our data stays protected.
Good antivirus software should have an easy to understand user interface. The better the UI is, the better will be its usability factor. If you are paying for an antivirus to take care of your gaming PC, you would not like to be bombarded with information that does not help you much, or menu that you have to dig deep into to get the protection you paid for. The software must have a user-friendly layout and should ideally be customizable for your gaming needs. And if something goes wrong or you are struggling with a bug, the antivirus software should provide a helpline to contact their technical support.
Many antiviruses affect the efficiency of your game as well as the overall PC. The ideal antivirus for PC gamers needs to have firewall protection even during the Gaming Mode, suppresses unnecessary pop-ups and notifications, and should not drain down your power. To make the software more efficient, the antivirus should limit background processes by pausing the updates and scheduling them for later.
Antivirus software for PC gamers has many features that depend upon the personal choice and preference of the gamers. Whether you plan to use multiple screens on a dual boot Macbook or stream live to Twitch, it all depends on your requirements. Whether you are gaming online or offline, good antivirus software should offer multiple features for all kinds of gamers to provide them with maximum security. In addition to this, your antivirus should have an easy to operate UI, and solid technical support in case you need help.
The 5 Best Antivirus Software for PC Gamers
You can find many antiviruses for gamers in the market, but do they provide what the market? Good antivirus software is every gamer’s dream – software that does not slow down your game or negatively impacts your overall performance while scanning for malware. And while it gives the maximum security against external threats and attacks, an ideal antivirus needs to use a small chunk of your RAM so that your PC can allocate a reasonable amount of the memory to your game.
Here are our top five antivirus software recommendations (plus one bonus!) for PC gamers. Check out their features, pros, and cons, and go for the one that works best for you, and your computer.
BullGuard takes the trophy as one of the best antivirus software for PC gamers as it provides great optimization without compromising on its comprehensive security system.
The Game Booster mode improves the CPU’s performance by allocating processes to increase the speed of your system. It automatically optimally uses the memory and reroutes the programs running in the background to give you the ideal gaming experience. It reduces, closes, or suppresses the background apps so the system can focus on your gaming performance. Not every antivirus features small resource demands as BullGuard does.
Unlike other antivirus software that slows down the PC while performing spyware and malware scans, BullGuard is efficient and does not make you bang your head on the keyboard with frustration. And since there is no set time for awesome gameplay, BullGuard’s 24/ 7 technical support along with an active community forum is there to help you round the clock.
A great feature of BullGuard is that it has tons of pre-set custom gaming profiles for some of the most sought-after games. It also lets you create a gaming profile that adjusts your settings automatically depending upon the game you are playing. And not to forget, it offers an amazing parental control option that lets you limit the usage and restrict websites. If you need, you can open certain firewall ports and schedule system scanning. BullGuard also offers you multiple device protection by adding a small upcharge to make sure all the PCs in your house get the maximum protection.
- Top-notch security – detects malware and spyware on a widespread level.
- Protects against identity theft.
- It provides lots of options for customizable settings.
- Game Booster feature speeds up CPU performance.
- Great quality VPN.
- Low memory usage footprint.
- 24/ 7 tech support for troubleshooting.
- Comparatively expensive.
BullGuard has been earning the trust of gamers around the world with its high-quality antivirus software and is in the process of constantly improving their user experience. Therefore, if you are one serious gamer who values a great gaming experience, BullGuard is the one for you.
Considered as the best lightweight antivirus out there in the market for PC gamers, Webroot’s Secure Anywhere antivirus software is specially programmed for elevating your gaming experience by not hogging all the memory space. When other antivirus takes hours to scan, Webroot only takes a couple of minutes to scan your files and protect them from phishing and malware threats.
You do not need to turn on any gaming mode as Webroot’s Secure Anywhere antivirus is programmed to stay in the background. It offers many good features including protecting your webcam from malware attacks and hijacking, which is especially great for Twitch streamers. The system optimizer automatically frees up your RAM by routinely clearing up the background files.
One of the features that sets it apart is its economical usage of your disk space as it is lighter than most of the competitor antiviruses. Upon installation, it only adds 4 MB of data to your system, and the rest of the program is hosted by the cloud. As a result, you get more free memory to improve your gameplay.
- It provides multiple pricing options (which provides good value for money for gamers on a budget), as compared to many expensive antivirus software out there.
- Do not upcharge you for multiple device protection.
- Cloud-based antivirus with the least usage of RAM.
- Scans files at a super-fast speed.
- Provides system optimizer and webcam protection.
- Some competitors offer better security.
- The UI could have been more user-friendly as you must dig deep through a lot of menus to get to your relatively limited customization choices.
If you want to free up maximum memory for your gaming experience, this cloud-based lightweight antivirus could be the perfect one for you. It offers some good protection, which may not be as good as that provided by BullGuard but is still good enough to deliver you what it promises.
3. Norton 360
Norton is a world leader when it comes to cybersecurity, and the Norton 360 antivirus software for PC gamers tells you exactly why. It provides super-fast scanning without affecting your gameplay.
It offers you two different performance modes:
- Silent Mode
- Quiet Mode
When an application goes into full-screen mode, the Silent Mode is activated. If there is a program that indulges in a high CPU load, the Quiet mode is automatically initiated. For example, if you are using a Norton 360 antivirus and start a game session, the antivirus software automatically reduces the processor load and activates one of the two modes. You can also customize these modes to suit your needs.
If you are a parent of young gaming enthusiasts, Norton 360 is your best friend! It provides some amazing parental controls and security features that let you filter content (to make it kids appropriate), as well as monitor and limit PC usage.
The Norton Performance Graph feature sheds light on your computer’s performance. It gives you a good idea of how your PC is performing, and how you can optimize it to make it run better.
- Well-trusted and reputable antivirus giant.
- Parental control features to the flag, monitor, and limit PC usage.
- Offers two automatic performance modes (silent mode and quiet mode) that enhances your gaming experience.
- It runs faster and is very powerful when it comes to data protection and security (complete malware detection and protection).
- Great UI.
- It does not have any dedicated Game Booster feature (like the one in BullGuard).
There was a time when Norton got a reputation of slowing down your PC while performing its scanning – something that PC gamers were not pleased about at all. But not anymore! With some major improvements in Norton 360 antivirus software, you get speedy scans and some mighty protection.
4. McAfee Gamer Security
McAfee is not a new name in cybersecurity. The McAfee Gamer Security is McAfee’s exclusively programmed antivirus software for PC gamers. It offers the goodness of data protection that the company is well-respected for. And not only that, its Game Booster program is very impressive and highly effective.
The McAfee Gamer Security is intelligently programmed. It knows when you are in the middle of your game and stops all the programs running in the background – giving you more quality gaming time. Not only that, but it also makes your gaming session its priority by muting notifications, and all the elements that can ruin your game.
- Great price for the features it offers (including the Game Booster feature).
- McAfee is a trusted name when it comes to cybersecurity.
- Limited to 1 PC, and limited customization features.
- The security and protection factors are not as effective as some of the competitors like BullGuard.
5. ESET Antivirus
If you are a newbie in the PC gaming world, you may want to skip this one (though you will find it to be a great tool if you learn to use it productively). However, if you are a pro at PC gaming and are keen to find advanced level tools and options to protect your data, you may not want to miss out on the great security that ESET Antivirus offers.
What makes it hard for novice users is the ability to understand the level of control that this software provides. Though the ESET and particularly its NOD32 Antivirus plan may seem to have fewer features, it can be configured with great flexibility if you are a pro. That is why if you are an experienced user, you will adore the configuration options this software provides.
As per testing conducted by independent labs, the ESET NOD32 Antivirus (the entry-level version of the software) is among the top antivirus software out there. It can spot and instantly disable malware without impacting the speed and performance of your PC.
The ESET’s device control module protects your system against any attack from an outside storage device, such as the USB devices, the external storage devices, optical storage media, or any type of Bluetooth or FireWire devices connected to your system.
- Advanced-level configurable tools. It provides features such as ransomware shield and exploits blocker, along with plenty of configuration options.
- It provides value for money for multiple devices.
- Cloud-based scanning results in a lightweight installation, resulting in not hogging much of the system resources.
- It protects a maximum of five devices.
- Works on only Windows OS.
- Not ideal for beginners.
With what started as a few blocks of antivirus codes written by some friends in 1987, ESET has become an antivirus software giant as it provides security solutions to millions of satisfied customers all over the world.
We have already given you the five best antivirus software for PC gamers, but if you are craving for more, we have a bonus one for you!
6. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
The Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is undoubtedly one of the best multi-device antivirus software for your gaming machine. It promises to offer almost the same level of protection that antivirus giants BullGuard and Norton do. It provides you with a budget-friendly option to protect multiple devices, which is ideal if you use several devices.
However, there is a catch. The Bitdefender Antivirus Plus takes up more RAM (unlike some lightweight competitors like the Webroot Secure Anywhere Antivirus Software) which leaves relatively less space for your gaming. Also, it gives you less customizable options than many other leading antiviruses.
But these should not put you off, as Bitdefender delivers what it promises. It gives your system(s) complete protection at a great cost. It costs you almost the same as Webroot’s Secure Anywhere but protects 3 devices at the same cost.
The upgrade version of this antivirus is the Bitdefender Total Security that can be used on mobile devices (iOS as well as Android devices), along with your PC. It is relatively less expensive than the competitors, and a definite must-buy if you operate on more than one device.
- It provides great protection.
- Less expensive than the competitors out there.
- The upgraded version, the Bitdefender Total Security, works on gaming PCs, Android, and iOS devices.
- Limited customization options.
- Not as lightweight in terms of RAM allocation as some of the competitors
The gaming PCs are some of the most powerful computers out there, but if infected with spyware, malware, and phishing attacks, they are of no good to the gamer. For this reason, you need to install excellent antivirus software that not only protects your system from the virus threats but also takes up less RAM. It is therefore particularly important to use a gaming antivirus that works best on your computer and improves your gaming experience. So, among our recommended antivirus software for PC gamers, which one are you going for?