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5 Best Antivirus for Gaming Reviews of 2020 | Play Safely Without Getting Your Rig Compromised

If you look at just about any antivirus that’s worth its salt, you’re going to find some form of gaming optimization. But how can you know which ones will work best for your needs? Sure, you can try out some free trials. But many times, they are limited in what they can do and don't include anti malware or can't keep your network secure. You need to talk to someone who has actually tried all of the best antivirus for gaming software. 

That’s where I come in. I have compiled and reviewed the most suitable programs for protecting you while you play. So before you drop your hard-earned money on any antivirus for Mac users or an antivirus for Windows 10 OS, read what I found out!

3 Top Antivirus For Gaming

top 1 mcafee

1. [Best Overall] McAfee Gamer Security

4.9/5

To many people, McAfee is the king of security. To be perfectly transparent, I lean in the direction of that camp, as well. So when I had learned that McAfee offered a security product that was geared toward gamers, I just knew that it would do well.


  • Great introductory price
  • Smoother gameplay
  • Slick interface
top 2 bitdefender

2. [Best For The Money] Bitdefender Total Security

4.8/5

Bitdefender Total Security isn’t a gaming security antivirus per se, but it sure has all the hallmarks of one – and then some. You’re getting a massive collection of features and protection that are sure to impress gamers.

 


  • Won PC Gamer best antivirus
  • Easy user interface
  • Free trial available
avira logo on computer screen

3. [Best For Safe Browsing] Avira Free Antivirus for Windows

4.7/5

Color me impressed. Oftentimes, free antivirus programs cut out important features so that you’re forced to buy the “Pro” version. Not here. Avira Free gives you a wealth of much-needed functions at no extra cost to you.

  • Full security without limitations

  • It is free
  • Lots of helpful features

Why You Need Antivirus for Gaming

As a gamer, you need the best antivirus for gaming PC software. That means excellent optimization, stellar protection, and no slow-down. 

These days, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing or what your intentions are. If you’re online, you are at risk of coming into contact with a virus. You need to ensure that you are protected from such potential damages.

Admittedly, finding the most suitable program for your needs can be a bit overwhelming at times. My goal today is to make your life a little easier by sharing with you the results of my research. 

I have narrowed down the top-performing PC gamer antivirus software for your consideration. But before we jump right into the reviews, let’s explore some important factors that go into determining the right antivirus for your gaming needs.

Best Antivirus for Gaming Reviews 

1. [Best Overall] McAfee Gamer Security

4.9/5

To many people, McAfee is the king of security. To be perfectly transparent, I lean in the direction of that camp, as well. So when I had learned that McAfee offered a security product that was geared toward gamers, I just knew that it would do well.

I’ll cut right to the chase. McAfee Gamer Security is one slick piece of software. If you’re looking for an antivirus program that is perfectly optimized to run like a top, I honestly can’t imagine a better option. If you find one, I’d sure love to try it. 

mcafee for gamers

Features: 

  • Rock-bottom introductory price lets you sink your teeth into this antivirus
  • App manager makes it easy to handle resource-heavy programs
  • The integrated dashboard gives you instant control over your rig
  • MicroAV offloads threats and protects you while you’re offline
  • Customizable settings lets you get the best performance

Gamer Security does wonders for your games. I was overjoyed to see my games running at better speeds while in use.

It comes with a Game Boost mode that takes sluggish gameplay and turns it on its ear.

By my estimation, McAfee Gamer Security is the best antivirus for gaming Windows 10 has to offer. I appreciate that there are no annoying or stride-breaking pop-ups to worry about during gameplay, either.

McAfee clearly put their main focus on this kind of performance. Yet in doing so, they skimped on certain features. So while this is definitely the best-optimized antivirus among my reviews, it isn’t the pinnacle of protection.

McAfee Gamer Security Technical Specifications: 

Header

Protection type

Gamer security

Engine

MicroAV

Performance

Game Boost

Monitoring

Real-time

Features

App Manager

Settings

Customizable

That’s not to say it’s bad by any means. Malware protection is particularly impressive; it’s just that threats like malicious URLs are ignored outright. 

This can easily be remedied with a freebie that does, but for those looking for a complete security suite may feel a slight tinge of disappointment. 

With that being said, I found that what is provided is top-notch. You’re getting a streamlined antivirus program that is a breeze to use, light as a feather, and highly-effective in its performance.

This is a great software that complements your gameplay in ways that other antiviruses simply can’t touch. The price is a little steep considering its limitations on protection. But you can’t beat its optimized performance.

As a pro tip, you might want to jump on McAfee’s current offer. They’re offering Gamer Security right now for $40 off. So you can nab this dirt-cheap for the first year of use (it goes back to its regular price for each successive year).

Pros

  • Great introductory price
  • Excellent performance
  • Smoother gameplay
  • Slick interface

Cons

  • Some protection parameters are missing

2. [Best For The Money] Bitdefender Total Security

4.8/5

Bitdefender Total Security isn’t a gaming security antivirus per se, but it sure has all the hallmarks of one – and then some. You’re getting a massive collection of features and protection that are sure to impress gamers.

bitdefender protection

Features: 

  • Works on several devices across multiple platforms for comprehensive protection
  • Extensive malware protection gives you the peace of mind for safe browsing
  • Cutting-edge ransomware defense that keeps your personal data secure
  • Excellent protection for mobile devices gives you better security
  • Ease of use makes this one a winner for users of all skill levels

It’s not every day that you get firewall gaming protection this extensive.

 Not only that, but the cross-platform security is mighty handy. 

If you have a family of gamers who use a variety of devices or you like to game on more than one device, Bitdefender Total Security was created with you in mind.

I like how deep the protection goes with this software. Viruses of all manner are defended, giving you some of the safest gaming possible. I’m talking ransomware, spyware, phishing attempts, fraud, spam, and more. 

Bitdefender Total Security Technical Specifications: 

Header

Protection type

Security suite

Protection

Multi-layered/Real-time

Parental control

Yes

Firewall protection

Yes

Device optimizer

Yes

Compatibility

Windows/macOS/iOS/Android

Web browsing is safe, too, so you can rest easy knowing you and/or your family are secure while you’re online. 

Bitdefender Total Security comes equipped with different performance modes to ensure that you get the most out of your experience. Whether it is leisure or work you’re after, you can trust that Total Security will run at its very best.

Parents will certainly appreciate the wealth of features offered here. From webcam to microphone protection, you don’t have to worry about some wacko trying to spy on your kids.

And to top things off, there’s even a helpful password manager that takes the chaos out of trying to remember a heap of logins.

Pros

  • Won PC Gamer best antivirus
  • Easy user interface
  • Free trial available
  • Cross-platform

Cons

  • Requires the latest version of Internet Explorer, Sierra, iOS 11.2, or Android 5.0
  • It’s a bit pricey

3. [Best For Safe Browsing] Avira Free Antivirus for Windows

4.7/5

Color me impressed. Oftentimes, free antivirus programs cut out important features so that you’re forced to buy the “Pro” version. Not here. Avira Free gives you a wealth of much-needed functions at no extra cost to you.

Sure, there are some ads you have to deal with, but it’s hard to complain when you’re getting free protection. How about getting an antivirus with VPN included? Yup, you get VPN, too.

avira security

If you’re curious about what’s included with the Pro version of Avira Antivirus, let’s explore its additional features:

Features: 

  • PUA Shield is effective in removing unwanted apps hidden in software
  • Real-time protection ensures that new threats are promptly handled
  • Antivirus scanner continually seeks out threats and blocks them
  • Safe browsing ensures that you never access harmful websites
  • Adblocker eliminates unwanted or intrusive ads

And it’s not limited protection, either. Avira’s antivirus protection operates in real-time, ensuring that you are continually shielded from online threats.

You’re also getting enhanced browser safety that makes sure you’re online activity is safe.

Malicious URLs are proactively blocked, so you never have to worry about stumbling onto an infected site.

I like that Avira even took steps to ensure that you have a safe shopping experience. It actively searches out the most secured deals to help you save money on online sites.

Avira Free Antivirus for Windows Technical Specifications: 

Header

Protection type

Security suite

Protection

Real-time

Spyware

Yes

Web protection

Yes

Optimized for gaming

Yes

VPN

Yes

It’s important to note that Opera is the browser of choice with Avira (it’s optimized to work with Opera) and comes bundled into the software. However, you can change this if you find Opera not to be to your liking.

Personally, I really like Opera and think it’s only gotten better over the years. But you’re certainly not forced to use it and can change to your favorite default browser at any time.

So as you can see, some of these features won’t mean jack to certain gamers. But to others, I can see them being quite useful.

If you want the best free antivirus for gaming, Avira Free Antivirus for Windows is it.

Pros

  • Full security without limitations
  • Lots of helpful features
  • Easy to use
  • It’s free!

Cons

  • Ad-blocking not as accurate as others

Webroot SecureAnywhere is aptly named due to its cloud-based performance. It’s a versatile little antivirus that eliminates the fear of having your precious system resources hogged up.

webroot protection

Features: 

  • Real-time protection prevents a larger variety of threats from getting in
  • The simple but effective user interface is a cinch to learn and operate
  • Searches for threats against your identity for secure online activity
  • Web Shield delivers a safe browsing experience
  • Firewall protection keeps out baddies

And as extensive as its security is, this program is light as a feather, giving you in-depth protection that barely makes a dent in your resources.

We’re talking mere megabytes here.

I’m quite fond of SecureAnywhere’s performance. While gaming, you’re never distracted by pop-ups or interference, allowing you to enjoy all of the protection and security without rubbing it in your face.

Webroot Secure Anywhere Technical Specifications: 

Header

Protection type

Security suite

Malware protection

Yes

Anti-phishing

Yes

Ransomware protection

Yes

Optimized for gaming

Yes

Firewall

Yes

Webroot gives you plenty to work with here, too. You get tons of settings that you can tweak, ensuring that you are the one who is in control.

 Even better, you can nab this lightweight wonder for a fraction of what other antiviruses cost.

Pros

  • Slick interface
  • Great support
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Keeps a log of all activity

BullGuard might not win any awards for innovation, but it certainly offers protection against a whole host of viruses and threats. I just wish it was a bit more effective in doing so.

bulguard protection antivirus

Features: 

  • Game Boost mode is the crown jewel, giving you a smoother gaming experience
  • Parental controls let you manage your children’s online protection
  • Identity protection ensures that your personal data is secured
  • Firewall protection prevents unwanted access
  • Optimized settings for better performance

Moreover, BullGuard is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android. This ensures that most, if not all, of your devices are protected. 

But where BullGuard really shines is in its game optimization performance. I was thoroughly impressed with how well my games ran in conjunction with using BullGuard. It is easily one of the better antivirus programs for gaming in that regard.

BullGuard Antivirus Technical Specifications: 

Header

Protection type

Security suite

Malware protection

Yes

Phishing protection

Yes

Ransomware protection

Yes

Optimized for gaming

Yes

Antivirus protection

Yes

Parents will be pleased to know that there are controls to keep your kids safe from online threats while they play. And the user interface is a snap to use. It’s a bit antiquated in design, but it works well and gets the job done without making a fuss.

The price for BullGuard is affordable, too, so you can pick this one up for your kids or the whole family.

Pros

  • Faster gameplay
  • Easy interface
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Antivirus protection isn’t as extensive as other programs
playing a game

Features to Look for in an Antivirus Software for PC Gamers

The following features are crucial in narrowing down the right antivirus.

 You want to be sure that you factor these into your research, as this will help you find an antivirus     program that offers the best functionality based on your wants and needs.

Optimization

This is one of the more important aspects that a lot of people overlook. In short, you don’t want your antivirus slowing down your computer. As necessary as it is to have protection, can you even enjoy it if it’s causing your system to run slowly?

It is therefore wise to cross-reference each software’s specs. If the antivirus you have your eye on isn’t optimized to run smoothly on your gaming rig, put a pin in it and move onto the next best thing.

Value

Knowing what you need will help you to better decide on how much money should be invested in your antivirus. Do you just need a free service or do you actually need to pay for a more comprehensive option?

You may already have a suitable antivirus program that is only lacking a feature or two that a free program might provide.

As a brief aside, it’s nice to know that buying any of the antivirus programs that I reviewed is quick and easy. Each company makes it a painless process to try or buy their software.

Protection

This is what a large majority of gamers jump directly to when seeking out the best gaming antivirus software, and understandably so. The goal, after all, is to protect your rig and yourself while you’re online.

Whether you are gaming, shopping, or simply browsing the web, you need to invest in software that will keep you safe through it all.

It’s important to weigh the features of each program to ensure that it is capable of providing the protection you need. As a gamer, you want your gaming antivirus software to have a respectable scanning engine that proactively searches for potential threats. 

You also want there to be a decent malware database and various levels of protection while you’re online. It’s a good idea to compile a list of possible candidates that can provide for your needs.

Once you have a few lined up, you can begin the process of elimination by comparing optimization, features, and other aspects that I’m about to cover. 

Usability

The last thing you want or need is your antivirus for gaming PC software to be sluggish, unintuitive, and convoluted. Gamers in particular are often used to using software and programs that are just the opposite.

You therefore should expect your antivirus software to offer the same user-friendly interface and functionality. One of the great things about these programs is that they usually offer free trials.

Take advantage of this.

Try out those free trials so you can get a feel for what’s out there. You might have the best antivirus picked out, but if it’s a pain in the neck to operate, you are likely to get fed up with it quickly.

You’re the one spending your hard-earned income on your protection, so make sure that it’s designed to be easy for you to operate.

Efficiency

As you search for the best antivirus for gaming, you’re going to come across a lot of features. Some programs are going to offer things that aren’t found elsewhere and vice versa.

Don’t limit yourself to an antivirus program that only accommodates half of your needs. I assure you that there’s a comprehensive antivirus out there that is capable of fulfilling all of your needs.

Maybe you’re a streamer on Twitch or you play games both online and off. Regardless of your playstyle, you should be able to find an efficient antivirus as long as you put in the right amount of research.

Remember, “Efficiency” has different meanings for different people. What you need may not mean a thing to the next person. Consider what is important to you and plan your research around it. 

This will make it much easier for you to decide on the most suitable antivirus software for your needs.