The best antivirus for gamers is essential if you don’t want to be interrupted during gameplay! The software with a Game Mode allows for immersive gameplay while notifications and updates are paused.
You enjoy it big time, and at each point, you’re glued to your PC. For that reason picking the best antivirus for a gaming PC is vital. Especially when you care about your security. With just any antivirus you may face annoying interruptions — scans running while the game is on, pop-ups, massive update download, etc. Are these issues taking the shine off the gaming experience?
Luckily, with a top antivirus that features a gaming mode, compromising on security is a narrative of the past. Best gaming antivirus both offers excellent protection from malware and allows you to have truly immersive gaming experience.
What is the best antivirus for gaming?
The list of the best antivirus for gaming is below:
- Bullguard Antivirus – Dedicated Game Mode Pioneer (about this antivirus more);
- Bitdefender – perfect multiple modes (our review);
- Kaspersky Antivirus – effective malware blocker (more details);
- Avast Antivirus – gamers reliable choice (full review);
- ESET Antivirus – affordable protection for gamers (professional review);
- Panda Antivirus – excellent option for home users (our guide).
Let’s delve into them one after the other.
BullGuard: Dedicated Game Mode Pioneer
- Detects when the game is being played automatically
- Prevents pop-ups and disables firewall
- Little to no influence on game performance
- Extremely intuitive app
- Small performance drop is possible on mid-range PCs
- Average third-party labs tests result
BullGuard is a name that rings a bell for being the first antivirus to launch a dedicated gaming mode – the Game Booster. It works wonders, and it is for hardcore gamers to have a filled day and get malware protection for their PC.
BullGuard focuses exclusively on home users and gives them an exciting experience from start to finish. It offers a simple and user-friendly interface, which makes it perfect for users with little or no experience.
In terms of detection rate, Bullguard is not flawless – during the latest AV-Comparatives Real-World protection test, it blocked 98.9% of threats with 15 false positives. Still, such a result is good enough for you to trust Bullguard with your security – more in our review.
The solution is extremely affordable, and top tier subscriptions are packed with extras such as tune-up tool, cloud backup, and home network scanner.
The Game Booster automatically detects gameplay and optimizes, but you can also turn it/off on manually.
How to turn on BullGuard’s Game Booster
- Visit the Setting on the main screen.
- Click the Game Booster option.
- From that tab, the Game Booster can be enabled or even disabled.
- the Game Booster automatically detects gameplay and optimizes.
When entering the Game Booster mode, a widget pops up on the desktop so you can disable the optimization. With BullGuard Game Booster, you’ll get complete security and unhindered gaming experience at lightning speed.
Bitdefender: Perfect Multiple Modes
- It features three types of mode—Work Mode, Movie Mode, and Gaming Mode
- System impact is insignificant
- Game Mode prevents pop-ups, notifications, alerts, etc
- Antivirus software reverts to regular operation when the game is over
- The initial scan is very slow
- Not the most affordable solution
With quick scanning, near-perfect virus detection rates, and low system impact, Bitdefender is among the industry leaders. The pricing is reasonable, and even with the basic paid package, you’ll get solid malware protection and some nice extra features like passwords manager and safe banking. Those are essential for gamers.
Bitdefender automatically enters the Game Mode – this is by default. Normal operation mode returns – automatically too – when the game ends or as soon as the detected application goes out of the full screen.
Kaspersky: Effective Malware Blocker
- Outstanding malware protection
- Little impact on the system performance
- Great phishing protection
- A bunch of useful extras
- Game Mode is not enabled by default
- Requires a lot of RAM for installation
Just like Bitdefender, Kaspersky demonstrates 100% detection rates in third-party tests. It will efficiently block both known and zero-days malware that may infect your game with little impact on your PC performance. Full scans won’t take long as well.
Kaspersky offers different packages that suit every taste and pocket. While the affordable Anti-Virus subscription gives nothing beyond the robust malware protection, top tiers come packed with features. You can benefit from safe banking, parental control, password manager, and other extras.
The default setting is great; however, if you want some fine grain of control, you’ll get plenty of it in submenus. The interface is user-friendly, so you won’t find it hard.
How to turn on the Kaspersky Gaming Mode
- Open Kaspersky app.
- Click on the gear icon when it opens; it can be found in the lower-left corner of your window.
- By clicking the gear icon, the Setting menu will pop up.
- Click Performance while in the setting menu, which can be found in the left-hand side of the screen.
- Check the second line to disable Kaspersky functionality while the apps are launched in full-screen mode.
Avast: Gamers Reliable Choice
- Game Mode suspends some features and updates to free up resources
- Can suspend Windows notifications and updates for you
- Good protection capabilities – 99.2% detection rate with few false positives
- Many useful extras with paid plans
- The free package comes with no firewall
- The Ultimate package is quite costly
Avast Antivirus Free is a popular choice among gamers as it has a free edition with high malware detection rates. Both free and paid Avast packages run on the same antivirus engine, so all the users get excellent protection.
With paid packages, you also get the sandbox feature, protection from webcam spying, file shredder, and more.
Avast has a Game Mode optimized in such a way to work effectively with your games. It allows you to enjoy zero interruptions during gameplay. No more disruption via notifications or unexpected updates, which may require a system reboot.
With Avast Game Mode, all that is pushed aside because it mutes notifications and keeps updates on hold. It can even disable Windows notification and pause system updates if you wish.
Avast detects when you launch a game automatically, but if for some reason it doesn’t happen, you can always add the game manually.
How to turn on Avast Game Mode
- Visit the Performance section of Avast.
- Click Game Mode and Add Game.
- Choose the .exe file, which you’ll get from C:\Program Files\ folder for the retail version or you’ll find it under C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\ folder if you got it via Steam.
- Check Activate Game Mode at launch and “Save.” Henceforth, any time you launch the game, Game Mode is automatically activated.
ESET: Affordable Protection for Gamers
- Activation is by default upon detecting full-screen application
- Scheduled tasks will be postponed
- Feature-packed and affordable
- Below-average detection rates
- No free edition
Eset may be not the most efficient product, but it is one of the best antivirus solutions for gaming. ESET stands out for remarkably light system impact. For the impressive list of features this antivirus offers, it is extremely affordable.
ESET slightly lags behind competitors in terms of detection rates, but it still offers decent protection. With the top tier, you’ll get numerous useful extras such as network attack protection, safe payments, anti-theft, parental control, and more.
ESET features a Game Mode that turns on automatically when an application is launched in full screen. All the notifications are disabled, scheduled updates are postponed, and ESET minimizes CPU usage for better system performance.
You can enable/disable the Game Mode in the settings.
How to turn on Game Mode
- Right click on ESET icon in your system tray to launch the app.
- From the home screen, select the Setup tab and click on Computer protection; locate it on the right side.
- Here you can enable/disable Gamer Mode.
- For additional settings go to Advanced Setup – Tools – Gamer Mode.
- Here you can make Gamer mode run when a full-screen application is detected and switch off after.
Panda: Excellent Option for Home Users
- As soon as the game is launched, the software switches to game mode
- With a rescue USB creation, you save data even if your system is infected
- Panda will protect you against fraud if you ever buy from unreliable sources
- It does not offer ransomware protection with the cheapest plan
- Lab tests results are not impressive
Panda may not be highly competitive, and it demonstrated mediocre results in recent tests. However, it features a fantastic game mode, which makes it one of the best antivirus products for gaming. Besides, it offers a unique USB vaccination feature.
Other extras are password manager, tune-up tool, parental control, app locker, and call blocker. Also, Panda comes with an easy-to-use interface.
Gaming/multimedia is activated as soon as your PC goes into full-screen mode. You’ll get maximum protection while you’re using the PC without any interruption.
It is an excellent choice for home users who are hardcore gamers, and it eliminates most malware.
How to Turn On Game Mode
The gaming mode can be enabled at any time. Click on Enable gaming/ multimedia mode which can be found in the menu.
Do I Need Antivirus for My Gaming PC?
Even though we are pretty sure you’ll be able to find an antivirus to your liking among our top picks, we do understand you may feel hesitant as to whether you need one at all. So, is having an antivirus for gaming PC a necessity? It is.
As a gamer, you probably spend more time online, and as everybody knows, the internet is the primary source of malware. Having your PC infected even with the most innocuous malware (e.g., adware), you will inevitably suffer from the system slowdown and clogged network. The result would be increased ping, which is something you don’t want to face.
If you ever download games from websites that are not trusted, having the best antivirus for gamers is an absolute must. Trusted online game retailers do not come in short supply – GameBillet, Chrono.gg, Fanatical, and Itch.io – so make you never visit dubious sources.
Still, we anyway recommend you to have antivirus software protection enabled. You’ll have an improved gaming experience as well as the security of your personal information from cybercriminals (for example choose one of the best free antivirus software).
Our Top Choice of Best Antiviruses
- Best Antivirus Overall;
- Best Antivirus for Windows 10;
- Best Antivirus for Mac;
- Best Internet Security;
- Best Malware Protection.
Antiviruses today have a lot to offer beyond the basic protection. But what matters for a gamer is the dedicated gaming mode to enjoy the game with no interruptions and get maximum protection.
All our top picks will make your gaming experience pleasant – just pick the one that suits you best in terms of feature set and price. Your online security should never be compromised.