Why You Need Gaming Antivirus
Why Gamers Hate Antivirus
Ever since video games began to outperform Hollywood movies nearly a decade ago, there has been serious investment – and serious creativity – pouring into the industry. Today, the best games have complex narratives, amazing graphics and are totally, addictively immersive … that is, of course, until some annoying notification pops up on the screen and totally destroys the illusion.
Antivirus software, in particular, gets a bad rap for intrusive notifications, warnings, scheduled restarts and updates. And for that reason, many gamers avoid it like Custer’s Revenge. But turning off your antivirus software can obviously cause untold disasters if something nasty burrows into your system – and it’s not necessary. There is actually a very simple solution to this problem, and it’s called Gaming Mode.
What is Gaming Mode?
Gaming Mode (or Game Mode, or Gamer Mode, depending on the software) is a very handy tool that allows you to continue keeping your computer protected as usual, without your antivirus interfering with your game play. It works by temporarily “shushing” alerts, updates and notifications while you’re playing, and then grouping them together for when you’re done gaming. These are then given to you as a complete list, all in one go.
So, while you get to postpone dealing with any potential malware issues until you’re ready to stop gaming, your computer is not left wide open in the meantime. Your core antivirus and firewalls are still ticking along quietly in the background, protecting you against malevolent invaders of the viral variety (although they can’t do much about the ones in the game you’re playing!).
You just have to remember to switch Gaming Mode on before you start – and off once you’re finished – to let the full suite of security capabilities work their magic. Oh, and do take a minute to install any delayed updates when you get a chance. You’ll thank us later.
Where to Find Gaming Mode
You’re unlikely to find Gaming Mode amongst your bog-standard free antivirus offerings, but several of the better, premium internet security suites have realized that hardcore gamers make up a big part of their target market. These guys offer some form of gaming mode as standard in their Pro versions, although some call it things like “Silent Mode” instead.
Regardless of the name, most work in roughly the same way. Here’s the funny thing, though: hardly any antivirus vendors actually advertise that they offer a Gamer Mode! Exactly why this is we can’t say, but our guess is that turning on this feature permanently would weaken their antivirus protection overall.
As such, they don’t want to be seen to actively encourage any behavior that undermines your security and could earn them criticism if you never turn it off, and something eventually slips through the net.
The Best of the Best
To save you trawling through the small print, here are some of the best internet security suites that offer a Gaming Mode. BitDefender and Avira are two top antivirus software options that make their Gaming Modes relatively easy to find and switch on. In fact, BitDefender automatically enters Game Mode when you open up a game from its recognized list, saving you the hassle of switching it on and off.
If you’re a true fanatic that never stops playing, it might be worth checking out Webroot. This is an antivirus package that is specifically targeted at gamers, and Gaming Mode is automatic. That said, this isn’t a vendor you’ll regularly see at the top of “Best Antivirus” ratings – if you want an all-round, excellent internet security suite that goes beyond gaming, it’s worth choosing one from our top reviewed list.