It is true, you can indeed play Fortnite on the SteamDeck and it is not so difficult to make happen. It does require a moderately stable Internet connection and of course, like anything online, your results may vary. There are many other guides out there, I know, I have read many of them and decided I would make one that was just a bit more comprehensive.
Why would one want to play Fortnite on their SteamDeck? Good question. The game is only okay but there might be other Xbox games that may interest you. I play it as part of “family gaming night” for which I am quite terrible but the kids and I have fun.
I am making some assumptions here, this is not a guide for getting an Xbox Cloud gaming account. Since I am already in the Microsoft ecosystem for other work related things, adding the cloud gaming was a very small step. Check this link out to sign up if it suits you.
This is the easy way to accomplish playing Fortnite on the SteamDeck but this could easily be adapted to other Linux systems.
Eight-ish Easy Steps
Go to Desktop Mode
The SteamDeck has to modes, Gaming Mode, which is default, and Desktop Mode. It is the Desktop Mode that we do the work. To do this, press the STEAM button on the controller,
Launch Discover Software Center
On the lower panel of the desktop, there is an icon for Discover, the easy way to get the desired software from a gigantic library to choose from, on your SteamDeck.
After it has launched, your fist stop will be to the Settings where you will verify that the “Flathub – dl.flathub.org” repository is present and enabled.
If, for whatever unlikely reason, that the repository isn’t there, you can select “+ Add Source…” in the upper right corner of the window and add this New Flatpak Repository
Alternatively, you can run this in the terminal, like “Konsole” which is installed on SteamOS:
sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
Install Microsoft Edge Browser
The next step is to install the Edge Browser. Select the Applications item in the left-side listing. In the search field above, type, “Edge” and press enter. The application page will be displayed with an option to Install in the upper-right corner of the window. Select Install and follow the prompts from there.
Once Edge is installed, close Discover.
Add To Steam
Edge will have to be added to Steam in order to access it from within the Steam Menu when in Gaming Mode. To do this, open the menu, navigate to Internet and finally Microsoft Edge (beta). Right-Click to open a context menu and select “Add to Steam.”
Change Permissions of Edge Flatpak
Open up the terminal application, Konsole and enter the following:
flatpak --user override --filesystem=/run/udev:ro com.microsoft.Edge
it’s never a good idea to enter random code from random strangers on the Internet so let me explain what is going on here. Flatpak provides a level of containerization with installed applications for your protection. This will give Edge override access, using udev, to your SteamDeck controls.
Modify Edge Properties in Steam
While still in Desktop Mode, open up the Steam Application to scroll through the contents ofyour library to find “Microsoft Edge (beta)” entry. Right-click and select properties.
This will open up the properties of the application. Change the name of the Shortcut from “Microsoft Edge (beta)” to “Xbox Cloud Gaming (beta)” or similar.
The launch options will also require you to append at the end of the option after @@u @@
--window-size=1024,640 --force-device-scale-factor=1.25 --device-scale-factor=1.25 --kiosk "https://www.xbox.com/play"
Congratulations, everything is properly configured but there is just a bit more to do to make it look right.
Setting The Artwork
This is not exactly necessary, but it does make for a better user experience, add the artwork.
Download the artwork from this location and put it someplace like the “Pictures” directory on your SteamDeck, maybe someplace else, whatever suits you. Extract the zip file by right-clicking to open the context menu, navigate to: Extract > Extract Archive here.
That will give you three images:
Open up the Steam Client again, locate the Xbox Cloud Gaming entry, right-click on the icon and the banner to add the aforementioned images. The Capsule is the image that you see displayed when you scan through the main listing of games. Right click on the “capsule” and select Manage > Set custom Artwork and use the appropriate image file.
Now Xbox Cloud Gaming will look like a first-class Steam citizen!
Return to Gaming Mode
Lastly, return to Gaming Mode by launching “Return to Gaming Mode.”
You will now see, in your Library under “Non-Steam” your Xbox Cloud Gaming entry but here, that Capsule will still be a blah grey rectangle but the game itself will still look great!
One you sign into your Microsoft Account and access the cloud gaming, your SteamDeck will have access to the world of whatever games are available on the Xbox cloud.
When you go to play Fortnite, you will be presented with a warning about your controller and network. When you move the stick, the Controller warning goes away and the Unsupported Network warning is meaningless.
The game plays fine, at least, fine, as far as I can tell. The load time is pretty short, so I am not sure what is being done locally vs on Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure. When my Internet lags, I have noticed some input issues but since the speed bump I recently received, it has been pretty fantastic.
What I Like
The fact I am able to play these games that I don’t’ really care about, is pretty fantastic. Fortnite, although popular now, will eventually shut down and I will not have lost a single penny playing this Internet only game. I HAVE lost some cash on it because I have caved to the requests of my kids a few times but I’m not going to count that.
The SteamDeck is absolutely fantastic in the hands for playing these games and being able to play this rather popular title on Linux just feels great!
What I Don’t Like
The process of getting the Xbox cloud gaming set up is a lot of steps but it is easily repeatable and works reliably. The gameplay itself is as as good as you can expect from Fortnite. I have not yet tried to go down the keyboard/mouse style of gaming for it but that sort of defeats the whole portable handheld purpose of the SteamDeck. Go for it if you like. I’ll never be a Fortnite champ so I don’t care much if I ever win.
The SteamDeck is a fantastic piece of kit and adding this one additional ability makes me like it that much better of a purchase. I truly have not a bit of buyer’s remorse with this thing and hope to use it for many years to come. Fortnite is what Fortnite is, just another game but it happens to be popular and I don’t get it but I don’t have to I can have fun with my kids, they win but I can still smoke them in Markio Kart! Uh… not on the SteamDeck… yet.
I hope this is helpful, if nothing else, I can refer back to it for myself, so to future self, you are welcome.