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5 Best Antivirus for Gaming Reviews of 2023 | Play Safely Without Getting Your Rig Compromised

5 Top Picks

4 Reviewers

30 Hours of Research

30 Options Considered

3 Top Antivirus For Gaming PCs

top 1 mcafee

1. [Best Overall] McAfee Gamer Security


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


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 extra 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


Color me impressed. Oftentimes, free anti-virus 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

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. 

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!

Also, mobile phone gaming is the latest thing, so check out the antiviruses for android we also reviewed.

Why You Need Antivirus for Gaming

As a gamer, you need the best antivirus for the gaming PC. 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 and stay 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 best antivirus for gaming 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


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 antivirus suites that are perfectly optimized to run like a top, I honestly can’t imagine a better option than McAfee. If you find one, I’d sure love to try it. 

mcafee for gamers


  • 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 Boost Gaming mode that takes sluggish gameplay and turns it on its ear.

By my estimation, McAfee Gamer Security is the best antivirus for Windows 10 on 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: 


Protection type

Gamer security




Game Boost




App Manager



That’s not to say it’s bad by any means. The excellent anti 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 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 engine 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. It has free and paid options, and 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). All in all, this is a good antivirus software for a gaming PC.

McAfee Gamer Security Pros

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

McAfee Gamer Security Cons

  • Some protection parameters are missing

2. [Best For The Money] Bitdefender Total Security


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

bitdefender protection


  • Works on multiple devices across multiple platforms for comprehensive protection
  • Extensive and advanced anti malware protection gives you the peace of mind for safe browsing
  • Cutting-edge anti ransomware defense that keeps your personal data secure
  • Excellent protection for mobile devices gives you better internet 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 multiple devices or you like to game on more than one gaming device, Bitdefender 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. It also includes parental controls features too while keeping your PC protected at all times.

Bitdefender Total Security Technical Specifications: 


Protection type




Parental controls




Device optimizer




Web browsing is safe, too, so you can rest easy knowing you and/or your family are secure while you’re online. It will also remove junk files from your computer.

Bitdefender Total Security software 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 extra features offered here. From webcam protection 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.

Bitdefender Total Security Pros

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

Bitdefender Total Security 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


Color me impressed. Oftentimes, favorite free antivirus 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 antivirus 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:


  • 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 other threats and blocks them
  • Safe browsing ensures that you never access harmful websites and they have no way of gaining access to your PC
  • Adblocker eliminates unwanted or intrusive and annoying 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 and your personal information is protected.

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 Anti-virus for Windows Technical Specifications: 


Protection type

Security suite





Web protection


Optimized for gaming




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 most gamers. But to others, I can see them being quite useful.

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

Avira Free Antivirus for Windows Pros

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

Avira Free Antivirus for Windows Cons

  • Ad-blocking not as accurate as others

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

webroot protection


  • 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 keeps out baddies

And as extensive as its internet 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 optimized performance. While gaming, you’re never distracted by pop-ups or interference, allowing you to enjoy all of the protection and internet security without rubbing it in your face while the system optimizer does it's work.

Webroot Secure Anywhere Technical Specifications: 


Protection type

Security suite

Malware protection




Ransomware protection


Optimized for gaming


Firewall protection


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.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Pros

  • Slick interface
  • Great responsive tech support
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

Webroot SecureAnywhere 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


  • Boost Gaming mode is the crown jewel, giving you a smoother PC gaming experience
  • Parental controls let you manage your children’s online protection
  • Identity theft protection ensures that your personal details and sensitive data is secured
  • Firewall prevents unwanted access and cyber attacks
  • Optimized settings for better performance
  • Full system scans and virus scans

Moreover, BullGuard is antivirus compatible with Mac, Windows and Android. This ensures that most, if not all, of your multiple devices are protected. It also has a password manager.

But where BullGuard really shines is in its automatic gaming mode. I was thoroughly impressed with how well my games ran in conjunction with using BullGuard. It is easily one of the better anti-virus programs for high performance gaming in that regard. It has a boost gaming mode and once the automatic gaming mode is manually activated, this will automatically detect if you're in full screen mode while having gaming sessions.

BullGuard Antivirus Technical Specifications: 


Protection type

Security suite

Malware protection


Phishing protection


Ransomware protection


Optimized for gaming


Antivirus protection


Parents will be pleased to know that there are parental 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.

BullGuard Antivirus Pros

  • Faster gameplay
  • Easy interface
  • Affordable

BullGuard Antivirus Cons

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

Features to Look for in a Best Antivirus Software for PC Gamers

The following quality 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.


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 performance 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 PC gaming rig, put a pin in it and move onto the next best thing.


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 antivirus 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 antivirus 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 antivirus software company makes it a painless process to try or buy their software.


This is what a large majority of gamers jump directly to when seeking out the best gaming antivirus programs, 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 quality features offered of each program to ensure that it is capable of providing the protection you need. As a gamer, you want your gaming antivirus programs to have a respectable and active scanning engines 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. 


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 programs 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 programs 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.


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 antivirus suites that only accommodate half of your needs. I assure you that there’s the best antivirus software out there that is capable of fulfilling all of your needs.

Maybe you’re a streamer on Twitch or you're playing 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 and best antivirus software for your needs.

Top Antiviruses That Didn’t Make The List:

Sophos. Sophos offers a good internet security, which has high malware detection rates, doesn’t cause slowdown during scans, and is very easy to use. However, Sophos doesn’t have a gaming mode or game booster, so it’s not a good choice for gamers.

Avast/AVG. A lot of sites are paid to recommend Avast and AVG, but after we found out about the credible allegations that both companies steal and sell user data, we couldn’t continue to support them on our site. You can read more about our decision here.

Intego. Intego’s antivirus for Macs is one of the best in 2023, and it even has excellent system tune-up tools for Mac gamers. However, I’m not a big fan of Intego’s antivirus for Windows, and the vast majority of gamers are on Windows in 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is the best antivirus for gaming PC?

Here is the Top Antivirus For Gaming PC that we can recommend.

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

2. Bitdefender Total Security -
Bitdefender's free version 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 other features and protection that are sure to impress PC gamers.

3. Avira Free Anti-virus for Windows -
Color me impressed. Oftentimes, even the best antivirus programs that are free 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.

2. Should I turn off antivirus while gaming?

If you're using a low-end gaming PC, you should always disable your antivirus. Each application that is running consumes some of your disk space, causing games to lag and the PC's performance to slow down while playing your favorite game. Try the razor game booster app; it's completely free and disables all unnecessary background tasks and services that run while you're gaming.

3. Can I play online games without antivirus?

Yes, you can play online games without gaming antivirus software, but it's not recommended. Best antivirus for gaming helps protect your computer from malware and other online threats, so it's a good idea to have it installed if you're going to be playing online games.

4. Is McAfee good for gaming?

Yes, it is beneficial for gaming. McAfee has created a dedicated antivirus for a gaming PC. It simplifies the process, allowing you to relax in the knowledge that you can continue to play Apex Legends without your performance being slowed down by security-related pop-up notifications.

5. What is McAfee gamer security?

McAfee Gamer Security is a small antivirus engine software. It safeguards your computer against threats and can also free up operating systems resources for optimal gaming performance. Auto Game Boost: Automatically optimizes system resources such as the CPU, GPU, and RAM, as well as network performance, to deliver a superior gaming experience.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.