Valve's new Steam Deck handheld gaming computer is only a few weeks away. The console, which will be playable both in handheld mode and while connected to a television similar to the Nintendo Switch, is scheduled to debut on Feb 25, 2022. While it will primarily focus on running games available via Steam with Valve's gaming store and library service currently available for PC, FAQs have confirmed that the Steam Deck will have some capability to play popular non-Steam titles.
However, free-to-play battle royale Fortnite will not be one of them. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney responded to a question from a fan on Twitter by indicating that Epic Games does not plan to update Fortnite to be compatible with the Proton software required to run it on a Steam Deck. Sweeney's reasoning was that he did not feel cheating could be appropriately combated on Steam Deck, which is currently reported to be compatible with only a small number of anti-piracy, anti-cheat, and anti-tamper software. With Fortnite having a player base in the tens of millions, Sweeney and Epic feel that managing cheating on the Steam Deck is simply not feasible.
Fortnite no, but there's a big effort underway to maximize Easy Anti Cheat compatibility with Steam Deck.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) February 7, 2022
It is, however, possible that some players may be able to use open source technology and modifications to unofficially allow their Steam Deck to successfully run Fortnite. This is because the Steam Deck is designed to function as a miniature PC and not simply as a game console, allowing modification that other consoles such as the Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 5 may not.
The Steam Deck's February release comes after a two-month delay. Initially, Valve had hoped to release the product during the 2021 holiday season, but delays were caused due to global supply and labor shortages as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
What are your thoughts on this news? Were you looking forward to playing Fortnite on the Steam Deck? Has this affected your decision whether or not to purchase one? Let us know!