According to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, the famous battle-royale game will not be updated to work on SteamOS, thus owners of the future Valve Steam Deck would have to install Windows to play it.
Sweeney claimed in a series of tweets that the business isn’t confident in its abilities to tackle cheating in Fortnite when the game is run on custom kernel configurations. Even though Fortnite isn’t available on Steam, Sweeney’s statements rule out a Linux version that could operate on the Steam Deck.
The Steam Deck runs Valve’s SteamOS, which is based on Linux, and employs Proton, a compatibility layer that allows Steam games written for Windows to run on it. Epic has made its anti-cheat software, Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC), compatible with Linux and Proton, so game creators who use it should have no problems getting their games to operate on the Steam Deck. For the time being, Epic will not be one of them, at least not with Fortnite.
When contacted for comment by The Verge , Sweeney described Linux as “a terrifically hard audience to serve given the variety of incompatible configurations.” Asked whether it would be possible to enable compatibility just for SteamOS, he said “Linux is a small market already and if you subdivide it by blessed kernel versions then it’s even smaller.” It may not be worth Epic’s while to put in the work on security for what will be a comparatively tiny audience, at least at first.
Besides, it’s not like Steam Deck owners won’t be able to play Fortnite at all — there’s always the option of installing Windows on the machine. Sweeney hailed the Steam Deck as an “amazing move by Valve” when it was first announced, calling it “an open platform where users are free to install software [of] their choosing — including Windows and other stores.”