Best Antivirus for Gaming PC

Best Antivirus for PC Gaming in 2021

Most gamers compromise on security and avoid using antivirus to protect their device from malware and other threats, since they focus more on gaming speed and experience.

Written by Adam Stevenson- Technical Content Editor

 Updated on September 22, 2021

Luckily, with advancements in technology, cybersecurity companies have started building antivirus solutions with dedicated gameplay features. These products ensure that your device stays protected without any impact on performance.

Read on to learn more about the game mode and the best antivirus for gaming in 2021.

Can’t Wait To Get Your Gaming Antivirus Now? See Our Top 5 Picks

The best antivirus for gamers will have the perfect balance between performance and protection. After testing dozens of security solutions, here are our picks for the top five gaming antivirus products of this year.

  • Norton - Multiple modes for optimized performance as per need. It runs in the background providing fast-scanning while you’re playing
  • Bullguard - The first company to include a gameplay mode in its security solution. Allows you to create multiple profiles for a seamless experience and provides history logs
  • Avira - Allows you to pause all alerts and updates while the antivirus engine and firewall protection runs silently in the background
  • Webroot - Minimal CPU impact, system optimizer, and other features packed into a cloud-based antivirus suite built exclusively for gamers
  • Avast - Prioritizes the CPU focus on the game you’re playing while muting incoming notifications and pausing updates

  • Game mode
  • Smartphone optimizer
  • Real-time monitoring of malware
  • Fast scanning
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  • Real-time malware protection
  • Around-the-clock support
  • Strong privacy protection
  • Safe web browsing
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  • Real-time malware protection
  • Advanced security features
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Value for money
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  • Enhanced ransomware and malware detection
  • Multiple devices (up to 25)
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Pocket-friendly pricing
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  • Multi-device protection
  • Game Booster
  • Extremely lightweight software
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Should Gamers Use An Antivirus?

Today, video games are no longer just a fun pastime for children and teenagers — people of all ages play video games. By estimate, almost one-third of all people in the world play PC games from time to time, and their number regularly grows. This is due to the technological development of games, as well as the interactivity and wide opportunities to meet new friends.

So, should gamers use antivirus? The short answer is, yes, they should. PC gamers are among the most vulnerable online when it comes to malware such as viruses, trojans, and worms. The malicious software landscape is nothing like it was a few years ago. Today, these attacks on your system can come from a variety of sources. While you should always use common sense and act with caution, that still may not be enough to protect your gaming pc.

Antivirus Software With Game Mode (More Detailed) 

Gaming mode temporarily blocks notifications, system alerts, and updates while you’re in a game or doing any other task. Hence, it allows you to enjoy a seamless online experience while protecting your device from threats in real-time. 

Here’s how this feature works for each of the brands we listed above:

1. Norton - Designed by PC Gamers


This antivirus suite automatically reduces the CPU load as soon as you start a session. Norton gaming mode provides two options for you to enjoy uninterrupted gameplay: silent and quiet mode. Using the silent setting, you’ll be able to configure alerts and temporarily suspend background tasks.

Whenever you open an app/game in fullscreen, the software can auto-detect it and turn on this mode. Likewise, the quiet option is automatically enabled whenever you’re performing tasks that require more memory and resources.


Read the Full Norton Review

2. Bullguard - Best with the Game Booster


This is the first internet security brand to offer a dedicated game mode with its anti-malware solution. It provides you with an unparalleled experience without shutting off your security suite. Over the years, this company has gathered feedback from gameplay communities to develop modern and upgraded versions of its Bullguard gaming mode.

You’ll be able to create profiles that auto-activate when you start a session. You can then define how you want alerts and notifications, firewall pop-ups, and other tasks to run.


Read the Full Bullguard Review

3. Webroot - Maximum Game Play Performance (Light)


Webroot gaming mode allows you to enjoy PC games without any interruptions or lags. It optimizes your computer while protecting you from online threats and loss of personal data. The company claims to use industry-leading endpoint technology that doesn’t hog system resources.

One of the standout features of this security solution is that it doesn’t need a dedicated ‘gamer mode’ because it works in the background by default

Webroot CTA

Read the Full Webroot Review

4. Avast - Best Possible FPS (frame per second)


Avast is one of the best internet security suites available in today’s market. The game mode is an additional feature that can be manually activated, or you can set it to auto-detect and have it open as soon as you start your online sport session.

When you turn on the game mode, the antivirus engine ensures that all other background applications remain closed, thus freeing up system resources for optimal gameplay.

Using this feature, you can prioritize CPU tasks, pause updates and notifications, disable Avast pop-ups, and switch your computer’s battery consumption to high-performance mode. 


Read the Full Avast Review

5. Avira - Top Optimizer for Windows ( Free Version has a Simple Gaming Mode)


Avira Game Mode is only available with premium versions. Using this setting, you can easily suspend irrelevant notifications and pop-ups while you’re online. While this feature is enabled, the antimalware engine and firewall security run silently in the background. All alerts and updates are displayed once you leave the game.

However, compared to other brands, Avira doesn’t offer automation. This means that you’ll need to manually turn off the mode after gameplay to enjoy the full potential of the internet security suite   


Read the Full Avira Review

Key Features To Look For In An Antivirus For Gamers 

When you choose the best antivirus for a gaming PC, there are certain things you will need to be looking for right away. You want the software you choose to provide excellent anti-malware protection, and it should not slow down your PC during high-performance gaming, and it should offer good value for all types of gamers.

The fact is that most of the well-known top-tier antivirus programs you get already have some kind of gaming mode in their internet security packages. The problem is, these typical gaming modes only suspend virus scans and notifications so your gaming experience isn’t interrupted by notifications and CPU-intensive scanning. 

This is useful, yes, but there are additional things that the best antivirus for gaming should have.

  • Cloud-based scanning — You want the antivirus program to run its scans from “the cloud”. This will keep your CPU free for games and keeps an antivirus from hogging the CPU during scans
  • Game boosters — Game boosters will reallocate any background processes for you so that your CPU can focus on running the game you are playing. This will make your computer run faster
  • Device cleaning — This feature will remove junk files, cached files, and background processes to free up space on your device 

Compare The Top Antivirus Solutions for Gaming PC

Gaming PCs are some of the most powerful systems out there, but it won't matter at all if a virus infects your computer and prevents it from working properly. Therefore, good antivirus software is something every PC gamer should install. 

Whether you’re looking for a full security suite, a performance-booster, or a super-lightweight cloud-based antivirus package, you’ll find what you’re looking for on this list.

You will find the best antivirus for gamers to choose from. Some of these options have free trials and refund deals available.


Game mode available?

Does it interrupt gameplay?

Available for multiple devices?

Price estimation

Free version available?




YES, up to 3

Starts at $19.99/mo for 1st year

30-day free trial




YES, up to 10

$49.99 for 1st year 

YES, lifetime free version with ads




YES, up to 5

Starts at $56.99 for 1st year 

30-day Money-back guarantee


YES (default)


YES, up to five

$29.99 for 1st year (1 PC)

70-day free trial with a full refund guarantee




YES, up to six

$29.99 for 1st year (1 PC)

30-day Free trial

How To Choose The Best Antivirus for A Gaming PC 

While there are plenty of capable antivirus apps on the market, the best antivirus for gaming should do its job without hindering your performance or being too intrusive in your day-to-day use. With this in mind, there are certain features of antiviruses that every gamer should look for.

  • Protection - Make sure the malware protection is up to date, check the strength of the protection offered in different gaming modes, and keep an eye on the effectiveness of active scanning engines to find which of the programs will work best for you
  • Optimization - By measuring optimization features such as connection speed, RAM usage, and CPU usage, you can determine which program will put the least strain on your CPU’s performance
  • Ease of use - How easy is it to use the antivirus program? Look for intuitive layouts, helpful submenus, and responsive tech support that can help when something goes wrong in the future
  • Extra features - What extra features are on offer? Some antivirus solutions also include features like game boosters, webcam protection, VPNs, and parental controls to make your gaming experience even better
  • Good value - You can weigh the cost of each program against the number of quality features offered to get the verdict on the value of the program

How To Activate Game Mode On Your PC?

To activate the Game Mode on your PC is easy when you have the right antivirus solution installed.

Launch your chosen antivirus solution and click on Performance. You can find it on the left side menu. When you click on it, you will see some new options appear.

You can then select Game Mode. Add your game to Game Mode.

Click on the “add a game” button. You will see a list will appear there.

Add Game

Select your game. If you can't find your game on the list, click on the SELECT GAME PATH button and select the .exe file of your game.

Save your settings. Ensure Activate Game Mode on launch is enabled and hit the SAVE button. Now Game Mode will automatically run when you launch the game. Now you can play your game!

The Best Antivirus for Gaming Laptop

If you’re running a Windows laptop, there’s no shortage of quality antimalware solutions, both free and premium. Usually, most solutions work seamlessly on PCs and laptops. To enjoy uninterrupted game time on your laptop, you can choose from one of the programs mentioned above. 

The only thing you’ll need to consider is that the best antivirus for laptops will include a game mode or a ‘do not disturb’ feature. Some companies may have these attributes in the free versions. However, such options will show ads. These ads can pop-up during gameplay; hence it’s best to go for the paid options.

All of the above products are compatible across various platforms, including Windows, Android, and iOS. We recommend opting for free trials so you can decide which brand best addresses your needs.

Antivirus Protection for Gaming Consoles

Gaming consoles like PlayStation, Xbox, and so forth are less prone to online threats, mainly because there isn’t a direct way to download files from the internet on these devices.

This, in itself, protects you from unwanted viruses and malware. Therefore, you won’t find any dedicated Xbox One antivirus or a Nintendo Switch antivirus.

However, there are some other threats that gamers should be wary of. For instance, cybercriminals may send out phishing emails, socially engineered attacks, and in-game messages to obtain your PSN (PlayStation Network) or Xbox Live credentials.

By gaining access to your Xbox or PS accounts, they can steal your in-game inventory or take control over your devices. 

To keep yourself protected from these attacks, you can use security software to protect your network and filter spam. For instance, Norton 360 includes a password manager, firewall protection, anti-spam, and multiple layers of safety for your online sports account.

Hence, it also doubles up as a PS4 antivirus or an additional security solution for your Xbox Live, Nintendo Switch, and Wii accounts.

Bottom line

Great, now you have a better idea of what to look for when choosing your antivirus solution for your gaming device. Your PC can be kept safe at all times with the best antivirus for a gaming PC! 


1. Do I need to use antivirus on my gaming PC?

Yes, it’s essential to keep your PC protected from online threats, phishing, and scams. If your PC is always connected to the internet and you download digital assets, protective software will help keep your device clean and optimized.

2.  Does having an antivirus installed slow down games?

Modern-day security solutions rely on cloud-based technology. They offer dedicated game time and DND modes to ensure all resources are free for your device to achieve optimal performance when engaged in online sports

3. Does a gaming laptop need different antivirus protection than a PC?

It isn’t mandatory. Usually, this software for PCs works the same way on laptops. If you’re concerned about performance, make sure to review the system requirements before installing the security suite on your computer.

4. Which antivirus is the best for gaming PCs?

Bullguard was the first company that started including a mode for gameplay. Over the years, it has modified the feature, relying on feedback from the global gaming community. Hence, it’s the most preferred security solution for PCs.

5. Can my PlayStation and/or Xbox get a virus?

Since there isn’t a direct way of downloading games and other software on a PS or Xbox, the chances of getting a virus are low.