Epic Games revealed that there are no plans to update Fortnite to ensure compatibility for the Steam Deck.
Fortnite is one of the biggest live-service games out right now. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t seem that the game will be making its way over to the Steam Deck. According to the man, the myth, the legend himself, Tim Sweeney (the CEO of Epic Games) stated that Epic doesn’t plan to update Fortnite so that it runs on SteamOS. Meaning, owners of the highly anticipated Valve Steam Deck will likely have to install Windows just to play the popular battle royale. It’s a bummer to hear that Fortnite Item Shop won’t be accessible on the Steam Deck, considering that it’s readily playable in almost all platforms these days. Is there no hope for the number one battle royale to make it to Steam’s portable system?
The Easy Anti-Cheat Problem
According to Sweeney, he’s unsure that Epic Games can bring over its Easy Anti-Cheat technology to Linux, which is the open-source operating system that’s going to power the Steam Deck. To ensure that Fortnite runs fairly and Fortnite account owners have a positive experience in playing the game, anti-cheat is a necessary piece of software. Sweeney further commented that they currently don’t have the confidence that they’d be able to combat cheating at scale under the wide array of kernel configurations of the Steam Deck, but there’s a big effort underway to maximize Easy Anti-Cheat compatibility with the portable system. Epic Games isn’t just working on bringing Easy Anti-Cheat for Fortnite, to the Steam Deck in general.
The Easy Anti-Cheat is an Epic Games-owned piece of software that aims to limit cheating in multiplayer games. Besides Fortnite, titles that use Easy Anti-Cheat include Dead by Daylight, Fall Guys, Apex Legends, and more.
Not Worth the Effort… For Now
In order to run SteamOS, the Steam Deck is installed with Linux. This led to multiple compatibility issues as many games haven’t been designed to run on Linux – and that includes Fortnite. Thankfully, Valve has come up with a solution in the form of a compatibility layer called Proton which enables the Linux-based SteamOS to run Windows games.
Make no mistake, it’s still possible for Epic Games to make Fortnite compatible with SteamOS, given the budget that they have, but it would take a lot of effort – which Sweeney claims – just isn’t worthwhile given the small market. He further stated that Linux is a small market already, and if you subdivide it by blessed kernel version, then it’s even smaller. At the very least, this suggests that Epic Games could potentially change their stance in the future if the Steam Deck proves popular enough for their standards, although this prospect remains to be but an ideal dream for now. If you’re desperate enough where you absolutely have to play Fortnite on the Steam Deck because it’ll be your only “gaming system”, there’s always the option of installing Windows on the machine. The Steam Deck is essentially an open platform where users are free to install software of their choosing, after all. However, in doing so, you’ll miss out on features that SteamOS provides such as having AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution technology supported by almost every game.
Despite Tim Sweeney’s continued responses concerning why Fortnite won’t be available for the Steam Deck, some fans of the battle royale claim that this decision was made “out of spite of Steam”. Steam and Epic both have their own platforms; Steam has amassed a ginormous mountain of games on their launcher, while Epic continues to lose an astonishing amount of money. In the Epic vs. Apple case last year, it was shown that $181 million went down the drain on EGS in 2019. Let’s not forget that Epic and Steam are still competitors in the end, and Epic will never act in a way that’ll benefit Steam (or the Steam Deck for that matter).
For the time being, those picking up a Steam Deck will have to enjoy the remainder of its library of titles and stick to purchasing cosmetics in the Fortnite Item Shop on their regular PC, mobile, or console device. As mentioned before, Fortnite is one of the most accessible games ever made as it’s available on almost every platform, so you’ve still got plenty of other options.
What are your thoughts about Fortnite not being on the Steam Deck? Let us know down below!