What is Norton 360 for Gamers and what does it do?

PC gamer at monitor to signify Norton 360 for Gamers
(Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

It’s obvious enough that Norton 360 for Gamers is an antivirus which is aimed firmly at the gaming community. The name gives that away, after all. However, there’s a bit more to this security suite than merely its ‘good for gamers’ credentials.

Just why is it good for gaming? What kind of features does Norton 360 for Gamers offer, what are its core defenses like, and how does Norton tailor this package to be a positive and useful experience for gamers? To find the answers to these questions and more, read on.

What is Norton 360 for Gamers?

Norton for Gamers is a version of Norton 360 Deluxe with certain tweaks and features aimed specifically at gamers to optimize the security suite for this audience. You get all the features provided with Norton 360 Deluxe – and that’s plenty – plus some extras to help ensure that your gaming sessions run more smoothly.

Norton 360 for Gamers Product Box

(Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

Norton 360 for Gamers: what features does it have?

The highlights of Norton 360 for Gamers core features which are also delivered with Norton 360 Deluxe are as follows:

Real-time threat protection

The core antivirus protection defends your device from malware, maintaining a constant shield against all manner of online nastiness, with very sound web protection, and an intelligent firewall to boot.

PC cloud backup

Windows PCs get a bundled backup tool which is very user-friendly and equipped with 50GB of online storage space.

Parental controls

An in-depth system of parental controls goes beyond web filtering and includes extensive monitoring facilities (with GPS tracking to keep tabs on kids via their mobiles). Remember though, as noted above, Mac users don’t get this.

Password Manager

A built-in password manager takes the sting out of trying to remember passwords while keeping them ultra-secure, doing all the hard work for you.

Secure VPN

Norton’s VPN service is bundled with this suite, giving you extra privacy and security online – it can be used across all devices, saving you the cost of buying a separate VPN. Norton Secure VPN isn’t the best offering in the world, but it’s decent enough, if rather short on features.

Gamer-specific features

As well as the above which you get with Norton 360 Deluxe, Norton 360 for Gamers further adds these gaming features into the mix, although note that these only work on Windows PCs (except for dark web monitoring, of course, which is platform agnostic):

Dark web monitoring

While Norton 360 Deluxe offers dark web monitoring for any of your personal details which may have been leaked online, Norton 360 for Gamers also covers your gaming accounts and gamer tags.

Game Optimizer

This nifty new addition to Norton 360 for Gamers aims to shift CPU resources in order to get better performance in the game you’re playing. The system works with game launchers from Bethesda, Blizzard, Origin (EA), Rockstar, and Uplay (Ubisoft), as well as the Epic Games Store and Steam. You’ll need a quad-core processor or better to benefit from the tech.

Full-screen Detection and Notification Optimization

These two features are bundled together to make sure you remain as uninterrupted as possible by the security suite. Full-screen Detection automatically spots that you’re running a full-screen app – like a game – and silences all but the most vital security alerts to ensure your gaming session isn’t disrupted (unless it absolutely must be). Notification Optimization also means that in general daily operation you’ll get fewer (non-critical) alerts from the suite.

Norton 360 for Gamers

(Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

What devices can I use Norton 360 for Gamers on?

Norton 360 for Gamers can be installed on Windows PCs and Macs, as well as Android or Apple phones or tablets. But most of the gamer-focused features will only work on Windows and note that they won’t function with Windows 10 S Mode either, and some features require at least a quad-core CPU or better.

Also note that the parental controls which come with the suite can’t be used with Macs, and not all features are available on mobile platforms. Some other capabilities are exclusive to Windows, including cloud backup and SafeCam.

A Norton 360 for Gamers subscription is good for up to three devices (and that’s one difference between this suite and Norton 360 Deluxe, as the latter supports up to five devices).

Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 systems are supported – and Windows 7 PCs are still compatible, even though the OS itself is now unsupported – and with a Mac, you need to be running macOS 10.14 Mojave or better. On mobile, Norton’s apps work with Android 6.0 or later, or iOS 12 or better.

How good is Norton?

You'll see in our dedicated Norton antivirus review that we rate the software very well. And independent test labs think pretty highly of Norton’s antivirus engine in their more recent reports, so you can be assured of getting very robust protection from malware, which is of course the point of getting any antivirus product.

This particular security suite is different from most, however, with its angle focusing on giving gamers extra functionality. Those additional features are certainly useful, aiming to ensure that gaming sessions aren’t interrupted, and even better, that the games you’re playing run better (in some cases). Note that we haven’t tested the Game Optimizer feature ourselves, but if it works as advertised, it’s a pretty impressive benefit.

The trade-off to buying Norton 360 for Gamers is that while you get these extras – on Windows PCs only, remember – you lose out on device support compared to Norton 360 Deluxe, with only three devices covered, rather than five with the latter.

Really, then, given that pricing is the same – although do note that on renewal, Norton 360 for Gamers is a whisker cheaper – the choice here is whether you want those gaming features, or whether support for an extra two devices might be more important (if you have a lot of hardware). Certainly, if you want to go the Norton route and do a lot of gaming, and are happy with coverage for three devices rather than five, Norton 360 for Gamers is rather a no-brainer, delivering a good security suite with some nifty functionality to help on the gaming front.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).