Norton antivirus software and gaming mentioned together is sometimes met with a cringe, this is because in the old days Norton firewalls could slow or stop traffic from your game server because it wasn’t known, scans would seemingly time themselves with boss fights slowing your system down at that critical time, and notifications… ohhh the notifications... those pop ups ended many a hero's adventure.
These issues, along with some newer ones more unique to the times we live in, have been addressed in the Norton 360 for Gamers software suite, which is really good news for anyone currently using their everyday gaming PC as a work from home PC too.
Working quickly through the shortlist, notifications were handled a while back with notification optimisation, scans became more efficient and our PCs became way more powerful so the allocation of system resources for them mattered less, and the firewall issues largely sorted themselves as gaming became more mainstream and verified lists expanded.
Looking at new features for new threats, Norton has identified that gamers are amongst the most at risk when it comes to cyber security, with early access installations and new user account signups required for much of what we do. To help with these Norton 360 for Gamers will check for the usual dodgey installs, like the ones that turn your machine into a mining rig for someone else, or start logging keys to thieve your passwords. Dark Web Monitoring genuinely sounds pretty cool, but this is what Norton calls secretly checking the wild parts of the internet, where personal data gets shared maliciously, for your gamertags and usernames, so it can let you know if it finds anything and you can react swiftly.
Via Mark Gorrie, Senior Director, Asia Pacific, NortonLifeLock: “Cyber-attacks are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated. The dark web adds another dimension to the online threats impacting New Zealanders. One of the biggest risks of personal data being sold or traded on the dark web is identity theft. That’s why we’re excited to launch Dark Web Monitoring in New Zealand to provide our customers with technology designed to help keep them protected against these more sophisticated threats. The addition of Dark Web Monitoring Powered by LifeLock to our technology in identity protection expands on our cyber security offering to help our customers protect their information in all corners of the internet and limit damage that may occur”.
For example, let’s say I set my World of Warcraft account up a few years ago now and over the years I’ve also used that same username or password or email to sign up to a small indie game that took my fancy, now that little indie dev had a data breach, and now my information is out in the wild. Norton Dark Web Monitoring can’t fix the data leak that’s already happened of course, but knowing about it allows us to minimise the damage, and while having a strong password is great, it doesn’t necessarily mean my information is safe if I’ve used it somewhere that isn’t.
Chills just thinking about that, so let’s swing back a bit a look closely at the performance impact anti-virus has on gaming, and how Norton is working hard to fix that with their Norton ‘GO’ technology, with testing data from Passmark. There is a report linked below with more information, but for me, the most important part is the comparison with other similar software options, because running without Norton will always be faster than with, but if I have to run something on my Gaming PC while I work from home, I want it to be the least impactful on performance.
Via Passmark: To test the game optimization performance, we selected five common PC games and used the games built-in benchmarks to measure the minimum, maximum and average FPS (frames per second) metrics. We ran some background tasks in parallel with the games to test the Norton GO game optimizing performance and we used a synthetic CPU load tool to produce a constant CPU consumption when comparing the Norton 360 for Gamers with the competitors’ products. We found that Norton GO improves frame rate performance in games in some scenarios. It is of particular benefit when there are high CPU usage activities running in the background during the game play and the CPU is creating a bottleneck. In comparison to similar anti-virus products, Norton 360 for Gamers performed the best in the product comparison.
Game Optimizer, or GO for short, automatically detects games and feeds them as much power as it can, it helps to eliminate FPS load and slowdown caused by other apps, helps to free your PC from power-hungry background programs to get maximum performance from your rig, and optimises gaming-related programs.
PassMark Software conducted objective research into the performance capabilities of GO. To summarise the results, there was a negligible difference when using GO on a clean install of Windows 10, compared to a clean install without GO installed and Microsoft Defender turned off. This is a fairly obvious result, where it starts to get interesting is when there are background tasks running, here there was a significant improvement in performance when GO was active, with average FPS being increased by up to 40% in some instances.
Now there was some fairly comprehensive testing done by Passmark Software, if you want to take a closer look for yourself at the results on a per-game basis, check out the full study here.
There's more to the Norton 360 for Gamers package than just gaming too, the package below includes a 10 GB Cloud Backup, Secure VPN, PC SafeCam and a Password Manager, as well as all the usual real-time threat protection features which are really what it's all about!
So there you have it! If you want to take a proactive approach to keeping your information safe and your games running at their best, Norton 360 for Gamers is the best option. If some of these features seem great, but you aren’t a gamer, another product from the full range of Norton at PB Tech could be for you, otherwise, check out all of our Antivirus & Security options!