Epic Games CEO says a clear No to Fortnite on Steam Deck

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Were you hoping to easily play Fortnite on the upcoming Steam Deck? Well, Tim Sweeney the Epic Games CEO has made it clear that it's not going to happen officially. The thing to remember right now is that both Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye do support Linux. Both for native Linux builds and for Windows games run through Steam Play Proton. However, it's all user-space with no Kernel modules.

On Twitter, user Stormy178 asked if there were plans to make Fortnite compatible with Steam Play Proton to which Sweeney replied:

Fortnite no, but there's a big effort underway to maximize Easy Anti Cheat compatibility with Steam Deck.

 The questioning continued and when asked why, Sweeney followed up with:

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.

Another user mentioned it seemed that Epic's CEO didn't trust their own product, Sweeney obviously couldn't let that remain unanswered with:

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!

In a number of ways, he's actually right. Windows is closed source, so is the NT Kernel and usually 99% of drivers for it are too. Client-side anti-cheat obviously relies a lot on security by obscurity, so people can't see everything it's doing. This is part of the problem on Linux, where the Kernel and practically all development on it is done right out in the open and it changes rapidly. Developing anti-cheat against such an open Kernel probably isn't going to be even remotely easy. There will be ways though, especially if something like the Steam Deck had a fully signed Kernel and some sort of guarantee it's being used - probably numerous ways smarter people know of.

Really though, overall it doesn't give a lot of confidence for developers who might be looking to hook up their anti-cheat ready for their games to work on the Steam Deck.

The big difference it seems, is the size of the playerbase and how much of a target each game is. Sweeney is not saying it's not suitable as a whole, just that Fortnite is a massive target for cheaters:

The threat model for anti-cheat varies per game based on the number of active players and ability to gain profit by selling cheats or gain prominence by cheating. Hence anti-cheat which suffices for one game may not for another game with 10, 100, or 1000 times more players.

One user followed up by suggesting it was just a case of Sweeney not wanting Fortnite on a "rival's platform", to which Sweeney gave this answer:

Epic would be happy to put Fortnite on Steam. We wouldn't be happy to give Steam 20-30% of its revenue for the privilege. Supporting Steam Deck hardware is a separate issue, but the market for non-Steam-hosted games on limited availability Steam Deck hardware is how big exactly?

With that in mind, you're going to need Windows or to stream it via GeForce NOW on the Steam Deck. At least for games without such anti-cheat, you should be able to use the Heroic Games Launcher on the Steam Deck.

It does mean there's space open for another game to take its place on the Steam Deck officially.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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128 comments
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pb 9 Feb
Quoting: elmapulhave we checked the size and weight of that thing? if linus from linus tech tips complained that his hand were too small to press some buttons with confort, imagine that thing in the hands of a kid!

i think this device might not be apropriate for kids, it may not be targeted at it either, so its not only not gonna direct compete with an switch, but will be too much affected by the lack of fortinite.

It's just a portable gaming PC, you can connect any controller and put the deck on the table or connect it to a tv. If the grip is too big for a kid, it doesn't mean the device is useless. Anyway lots of teens are pretty big I'd say. ;-)


Last edited by pb on 9 February 2022 at 9:20 am UTC
dvd 9 Feb
Quoting: damarrin
Quoting: dvdThe only thing that reliable stops cheating is a paywall

Uh, what?

DRM and anti cheat are equally dumb. And yes, while the paywall (hypothetically) doesn't stop 40 year old trolls from buying the game a 100 times, it's still more reliable than anticheat. Aside that, if you run a server, just have active admins (otherwise it's a waste of money.) It's of course only my opinion, but i feel like the need for anticheats is waaay overblown.

DRM is not a tool against ""piracy"" either, more a tool to restrict paying customers even more.


Last edited by dvd on 9 February 2022 at 7:03 am UTC
Appelsin 9 Feb
Fortnite won't come to the Steam Deck because it is the Steam Deck, not because of "issues" with EAC. I think it's that simple.


Last edited by Appelsin on 9 February 2022 at 11:47 am UTC
Beamboom 9 Feb
Quoting: F.Ultrathere is no need for cheaters to force Fortnite to work on the Steam Deck in order to cheat, they can cheat right now using Windows

Soooo... Your logic is that since they also have a challenge to tackle cheats on other platforms, they might just as well expand the attack vector?

I mean... That is what you are saying here.


Last edited by Beamboom on 9 February 2022 at 1:27 pm UTC
Zlopez 9 Feb
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Quoting: AppelsinFortnite won't come to the Steam Deck because it is the Steam Deck, not because of "issues" with EAC. I think it's that simple.

The EPIC is driven by money, so if the Steam Deck will be success (and I hope it will be), they will probably change their decision.

They can even create a proper EPIC Store client for Linux, if there is a demand for it. Man can just dream :-)
Didn't read the entire thread tbh but - it would all make sense if his "Windows-obscured" anti cheat would actually prevent people from cheating. Obviously even that this doesn't work. Take Counter-Strike (GO) for example. There's a Windows AND a Linux version and anti cheat is pretty much useless in both cases. But at least it's there and at least it helps a bit. In addition, there's overwatch (the anti cheat community, not the game - which is a completely different approach but in my opinion it has a major contribution to the problem and doesn't depend on any platform. That, and AI driven anti cheat would be the key but also cost resources which is the whole point of not supporting it.
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: SirBubblesNot at all. It would only be verified as supporting the SD kernel. That kernel would also be available for other users on other distros, so it would hardly lock FortNite (shudder) to the SD distro alone.

You can't transplant a kernel to any other system like that because it's the build that's verified, not the source. It might possibly work in some cases, and would most definitely not in others. There are other reasons it wouldn't work and be pointless anyway from a technical perspective (let alone be incredibly bad for a multitude of moral reasons).

That's a bit of a problem, wouldn't that involve digitally signing an entire SteamOS install? What if someone installs a few flatpaks from the package manager, or removes something? Or changes something in the configuration?
Unless you meant something else, I think it's difficult to verify an entire distro as a single signed version, when there are going to be changes of some kind inevitably.

Also, regarding the kernel, that would entirely depend on how it was certified. Considering that is a moot point, as Epic aren't going to do it regardless, it's not a big deal.
I was only trying to establish that the claim by Sweeney about distro/kernel fragmentation was provably wrong in that way, and that somehow enabling Fortnite for the SD wouldn't lock it to SteamOS alone.
elmapul 9 Feb
Quoting: pb
Quoting: elmapulhave we checked the size and weight of that thing? if linus from linus tech tips complained that his hand were too small to press some buttons with confort, imagine that thing in the hands of a kid!

i think this device might not be apropriate for kids, it may not be targeted at it either, so its not only not gonna direct compete with an switch, but will be too much affected by the lack of fortinite.

It's just a portable gaming PC, you can connect any controller and put the deck on the table or connect it to a tv. If the grip is too big for a kid, it doesn't mean the device is useless. Anyway lots of teens are pretty big I'd say. ;-)

by useless i mean to be used in it intended main use case (portable), it cant replace an gameboy when you are in school recess for example.

but you're right i forgot about the other use cases


Last edited by elmapul on 9 February 2022 at 4:10 pm UTC
elmapul 9 Feb
Quoting: SirBubblesWhen FortNite comes crashing down (as it must at some point) Epic will likely go with it, as that is what mostly funds Epic as a whole.

better not hold your breath then, it may be a fad that people forget after a few days, or may become part of pop culture like pokemon, mario and zelda and be there to stay, forever.

maybe not as popular as its now, but with so many crossovers as they're doing, i think its very unlikely that they will lose popularity
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Quoting: F.UltraSo did a quick google (since Fortnite is not a game that I have ever played, and since I don't use cheats) and the first response was to https://www.iwantcheats.net/fortnite-hacks-cheats-glitches-aimbot/ which have a long list of cheats for Fortnite, that works on Windows 10 and Windows 11.

The cheats are sold for money so there are monetary incentives to break EAC which points back to my earlier post that Windows is open source if you are a hacker. Not only does the closed source of Windows help it in any way possible, we can also see that Epic is lying out their teeth, there is no need for cheaters to force Fortnite to work on the Steam Deck in order to cheat, they can cheat right now using Windows (and they also carry cheats for consoles).

EAC only keeps out the amateurs, and the amateurs wouldn't know where to begin to create Linux kernel drivers in the first place either so this is all moot.
/me puts on his conspiracy generator hat;
Maybe it is less about the hacking of Windows than it is Sweeney & Co selling an 'API' to EAC so that people can create tools to break it, so they can cheat. I mean Fortnite should be making money with whatever means are necessary, right? And if the tools to cheat are sold, it's potentially to recoup any funds spent on getting access to the keyhole, so to speak.

Since the motives are there to make a ton of money, this is a conspiracy that'd make sense. Isn't Fortnite one of those 'Free' games? Got to monetize it from every aspect point...
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