Epic has no plans to update Fortnite to work with Proton, the compatibility layer Steam Deck uses to run Windows games. Epic is trying to make Easy Anti-Cheat compatible for Steam Deck, but that won’t be the case for Fortnite.
That’s what Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said in response to a question on Twitter† Sweeney says there are no plans to update Fortnite to make it suitable for Steam Deck. The Steam Deck uses the Linux-based Proton to run Windows games on its own SteamOS operating system. Proton is not fully compatible with Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye anti-cheat software.
Sweeney says that while Epics Easy Anti-Cheat is working hard to make it compatible with SteamOS, Fortnite will not be updated to become compatible with Proton. Sweeney says that’s coming because Fortnite is too big† He says Epic is “unconfident” that it can tackle cheating at scale under a wide variety of “kernel configurations,” including custom kernels. Sweeney’s comment is notable, as Epic promised support for Easy Anti-Cheat on the Steam Deck and other Linux systems back in September of last year.
This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get Fortnite up and running on the Steam Deck, but it does mean it’s more difficult. Fortnite was not already on Steam, but is available for purchase via the Epic Games Store. If users want to play Fortnite on the Steam Deck, they must install Windows on the handheld and use that instead of SteamOS. It was previously announced that BattlEye is also working on getting the anti-cheat software working on SteamOS with Proton.