Fortnite won’t be playable on Steam Deck, but what does that mean for other games?

Valve’s Steam Deck launches this month and some creators have already gone hands-on with the unit prior to its official release. While we know that Valve wants all Steam games, and even games from third-parties, to run on the Steam Deck, last month we saw that under 100 titles would be fully compatible at launch. However, Fortnite, one of the internet’s biggest games, won’t be available on the Steam Deck at all, and might never run on the portable system. The reason Fortnite won’t be on Steam Deck isn’t due to compatibility, but instead the anti-cheat it uses. What does this mean for the platform? Let’s take a closer look.

Will the Steam Deck support Fortnite? Tim Sweeney says no

The only thing we have confirmed is that Fortnite won’t support Linux at all, which means those on the Steam Deck won’t be able to play the beloved game. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, took to Twitter to detail why it won’t be compatible with Valve’s portable gaming system.

Easy Anti Cheat, which is used by quite a few games, including Apex Legends, isn’t compatible with Steam Deck currently, though many efforts are underway to port the software. Even when Easy Anti Cheat is supported with Steam Deck though, Tim has said Fortnite won’t be available for the platform. This is because they “…don’t have confidence that we’d be able to combat cheating at scale under a wide array of kernel configurations including custom ones.” This, in essence, means that even when Easy Anti Cheat is compatible, Fortnite won’t be due to how much hardware and software variety there will be. Tim even goes on to say that “With regard to anti-cheat on the Linux platform supporting custom kernels and the right model to a game of Fortnite’s size…” he doesn’t trust the platform to keep cheaters at bay. Continuing, Tim said that they would want to eventually port Fortnite to Steam but don’t want to give 20-30% of their revenue to Valve, which is in line with what the company is attempting to do with both Apple and Google.

With no support for Fortnite on Steam Deck, even with Easy Anti Cheat ported, it’s only a matter of time before we see other games fall to the same fate. Curious what titles use the software? Well, for starts, Apex Legends, Battlefield 2042, Dying Light: Bad Blood, For Honor, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Lemnis Gate, New World, Outriders, Rogue Company, Rocket Arena, Star Wars: Squadrons, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, The Division 2, and many more.

However, some games are already working on compatibility with Steam Deck now that the anti-cheat ports are underway. It’s really in the developer’s hands, and Valve is doing everything it can to entice studios to update their games. What remains to be seen is whether or not companies will use Valve’s updated anti-cheat software or if they’ll wait it out to see how well it works.

9to5Toys’ take

While it’s no surprise that Fortnite itself won’t be on Steam Deck, what I’m hoping for is that the famed title is the exception, not the rule. If other games follow suit and also remove Steam Deck compatibility, then the platform could be dead before it even launches. Sure, a lot of indie games will be updated to work with the portable system, but if it doesn’t have big titles like Apex Legends, Fortnite, and others, then many gamers just won’t worry about picking it up.

So, only time will tell if other big developers will jump on the Steam Deck train or if they’ll let smaller studios test the waters before making their titles compatible. The process doesn’t seem hard, and for certain games only requires the developers to send a single email and for others, there are a few clicks on the backend. Though, the email or clicks only enable the game to work on Steam Deck, and doesn’t mean the title will be fully compatible or run well, which is a whole other issue.

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