When Valve’s Steam Deck releases later this month, it should be possible to play Fortnite on the new handheld. However, it won’t be easy.
In series of tweets posted over the weekend, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney told fans that there no current plans to update Fortnite so that it works with Proton — the compatibility layer that allows Windows games to run on Steam Deck’s default operating system. As a result, Fortnite fans will have to jump through a few additional hoops if they want to get the battle royale running on Valve’s handheld.
The crux of the problem is Epic’s Easy Anti-Cheat system, which is not currently compatible with Proton. With Linux being a more open-ended platform than Windows, Sweeney says he’s not confident that it will be possible to combat cheating “at scale” on the platform.
“We don’t have confidence that we’d be able to combat cheating at scale under a wide array of kernel configurations including custom ones,” Sweeney said.
When another user accused of Sweeney of “not trust his own product,” he pointed to Fortnite’s sheer size as the issue.
“With regard to anti-cheat on the Linux platform supporting custom kernels and the threat model to a game of Fortnite’s size, YES THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT!” Sweeney replied.
Sweeney’s comments are somewhat at odds with his previous statements, in which he said that Epic was looking to better support Wine — of which Proton is a version — as “a solution for running Epic Games store window titles.” He also previously called Steam Deck an “amazing move by Valve.”
None of this necessarily precludes Fortnite fans from running it on Steam Deck. It just means that they will have to install Windows on the device rather than make use of the available default options. Either way, Fortnite fans wanting to play on handheld are probably better off just downloading it on Nintendo Switch.
Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN