Norton 360 For Gamers REVIEW – in-game popup killer
This new software especially for gamers can prevent identity theft and even those annoying mid-game popup notifications, writes PAT PILCHER.
Imagine this: You’re engaged in an online frag fest. It’s a challenging game, but you’re hanging in there and are about to take out that smart-arsed newbie kid that nobody likes. Then an antivirus popup appears, leaving you as newbie roadkill as derision from your mates pours through your gaming headset.
It isn’t an ideal situation, but it’s one that the folks at Norton LifeLock are only too aware of. Thankfully, they’ve felt the burn of many a frustrated gamer and launched Norton 360 for Gamers.
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It costs about the same as Norton 360 Deluxe. It comes with the same bells and whistles (a security suite, an unlimited VPN, 50GB of online backup storage), plus gaming-specific tweaks and other goodies. There is one small drawback – your subscription only covers three devices, while you get five with Norton 360 Deluxe.
Norton 360 For Gamers came about because many of Norton’s developers are gamers too. They’ve experienced the pain of a popup in the middle of a game. They get that gamers want security and that they don’t want it killing their gaming buzz. Feeling the pain of many, they went out and surveyed gamers. The results were not terribly surprising.
They contacted many gamers, and most said that while they wanted a secure PC, they’d like their security software to “get the hell out of the way”. This translated into less intrusive notifications, fewer background tasks gobbling up computing power, and updates that didn’t kick off in the middle of a game.
If gaming isn’t your jam, you’d be forgiven for wondering just what the fuss is all about. Getting fragged and having to respawn might not sound like a huge deal. Still, for serious gamers who’ve spent a tonne of time and money accumulating special items for their in-game avatar, respawning is both heartbreaking and costly.
Here’s the real rub with gaming. Items within a game can fetch serious cash. If your gamer accounts are hacked, you stand to not only lose precious items, but control of email accounts, and worse still, online bank accounts/credit card details.
According to Norton’s country manager for Australasia, Mark Gorrie, a gamer’s account is just the thin end of the wedge: “A typical gaming account can include the gamer’s name, birth year, mailing address, email, mobile number, payment information, credit card details, and other personal information that makes the right mix of information to be used by an identity thief to wreak financial havoc. Once a gaming account has been breached, the gamer’s other accounts, from banking to social media, are at a much higher risk for account takeovers and fraud.”
Taking all this into account, Norton decided to prioritise two key features. Reducing notifications to the bare minimum was the top priority. With Norton 360 For Gamers, you only get notifications if you’re at risk or under attack. If you have an app/game running in full-screen mode, 360 For Gamers will kill all notifications except for anything critical. Another gaming-related enhancement involves monitoring the dark web for nominated personal data and up to 10 gamer tags.
Another was to make Norton 360 For Famers as optimised as possible, so it doesn’t place a drag on system resources, dropping in-game frame rates. With the software installed, its impact on system performance is barely noticeable.
Gamer specific tweaks aside, Norton 360 For Gamers is a lot like Norton 360 Deluxe. You have the My Norton app which manages security, dark web monitoring, VPN, backup, passwords, and parental controls. You also get 50GB of cloud storage for backups. The VPN has no bandwidth limits, and the security capabilities are highly rated by independent testers.
Another great side benefit was that installing and subscribing to Norton 360 also meant I could install the excellent Norton Utilities suite. This appears to be a rebranded Norton version of the highly regarded System Mechanic utility suite, which does an excellent job of cleaning and speeding things up.
Norton’s 360 For Gamers may be a lot like 360 Deluxe, but its security features are top-notch, and you get a lot of bang for your subscription buck. Best of all, not being bombarded with pointless notifications in-game is a huge plus. Frustratingly, however, the reduced number of licences bundled with Norton 360 For Gamers held it back from scoring a perfect 10/10.