One of the Steam Deck’s biggest hurdles just disappeared: EAC has come to Linux and BattlEye is inbound

Valve promised it would work with anti-cheat software makers EAC and BattlEye to ensure some of the most popular games will run on its upcoming Steam Deck Linux-based gaming handheld, and one of those companies is now officially on board — Epic Games announced today that its Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) now supports Linux and Mac. Not only that, it’s specifically set up to work with the Proton and Wine compatibility layers that Valve’s relying on to bring Windows games to the Deck.

While developers would still need to patch their games, this immediately means some of the most popular games on Steam are now theoretically within reach, including Apex Legends, Dead by Daylight, and War Thunder, which are all among the top 25 games on Steam. Other popular EAC games include 7 Days to Die, Fall Guys, Black Desert, Hunt: Showdown, Paladins, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Some key games will still be missing until or unless other anti-cheat providers sign on, though: PUBG, Destiny 2, and Rainbow Six Siege are also among the top 25, and all use the rival BattlEye anti-cheat software. So does Epic’s own Fortnite, for that matter, but Epic also hasn’t brought Fortnite or the Epic Games Store to Linux desktops. Epic declined to comment to The Verge about that.

However, BattlEye is coming to Steam Deck too: BattlEye CEO Bastian Suter tells The Verge his company’s software will be compatible with the Steam Deck, saying “the first game might start using it soon.” Still, it will be up to individual developers to enable support.

Epic suggests it’s easy for developers to patch their EAC games: “Starting with the latest SDK release, developers can activate anti-cheat support for Linux via Wine or Proton with just a few clicks in the Epic Online Services Developer Portal,” writes Epic. Hopefully BattlEye will be similarly simple.

You can find ProtonDB’s list of the top games that do and don’t work via compatibility layer right here, as well as current lists of games that use EAC and BattlEye at the links embedded in this sentence.

Epic made EAC a free service earlier this year.

Update September 24th, 9:53AM ET: Added comment from BattlEye CEO on the status of Steam Deck support.

Update September 24th, 12:47PM ET: Added Epic’s no-comment.

Comments

Well this is very welcome news indeed. Glad to see Epic support other OS’s. And I’m glad Valve is working hard to help Linux be a viable gaming platform

Very interesting — and a little strange … this is the same Epic that pulled Rocket League from Linux after they bought psyonix, right? Still, I’ll take it.

Gabe promised Half Life 3 if they did

this is the same Epic that pulled Rocket League from Linux after they bought psyonix, right?

This is also the same Epic that’s run by a guy who once compared switching from Windows to Linux to moving from the US to Canada because you don’t like the current political situation.

Dunno, when the Windows Store and UWP became a thing, he seemed real ready to make a jump of some sort

It makes more sense to just run Windows on the Steam Deck.

You don’t have to worry about which Steam games will and won’t work… plus you get the option of installing games from GoG, Humble, Epic, Origin, Xbox GamePass etc

You can run windows if you want but the OS overhead might reduce some performance.

Have you looked at actual in-game performance?

From everything I’ve seen Windows will almost universally deliver better framerates than SteamOS, especially for anything running on WINE or Proton. Sometimes it’s a small advantage to Windows, sometimes significant.

Games running natively on Linux with Vulkan may outperform Windows, but I expect that will go away as more devs optimize for DX12.

Games run better on windows on big desktops, not tiny handhelds which honestly could struggle just running windows on its own, no gaming included.
Besides, why would you take the short term win of slightly improved games on a single handheld over the long term win of significantly reducing the amount of lock-in microsoft has on you over other OS’s.

What are you basing this on?

If I’m getting 10% better frame rates on Windows that’s going to be even more pronounced on limited hardware.

The reason for running Windows is access to all Steam games, not "some work and some don’t" as well as everything from GoG, Humble, Epic, Origin, Xbox GamePass etc

The better performance you would get running Windows over Steam OS would just be an extra bonus.

Dx12 isn’t "faster" than vulkan in any meaningful way.
For the most part, as far as graphics intensive applications the os matters little.
Something many game devs have done is to use win32 (and increasingly making direct calls to the kernel) only calls, and when that’s the case the game will run better on windows until the game is patched or the other kernel gets a similar call. The one you’ll see mentioned most often is the windows waitformultipleobjects, and the attempt to merge similar functionality in Linux via an effort called futex2. It doesn’t look like it is going anywhere though.

In my experience Valve’s own Dota2 runs faster in dx12 than vulcan on windows. Haven’t tried running the game with Vulcan on Linux, but I would assume performance drop will be similar. dx12 seems better optimized, whether its due to Vulcan’s shortcomings, or lack of game dev effort.

DOTA2 runs better on Vulkan-Linux than DX12-Windows in my experience trying both.

Dx12 isn’t "faster" than vulkan in any meaningful way.

Didn’t say it was.

In fact I said Vulkan on Linux can possibly outperform dx on Windows. The point I made was that I expect any Vulkan performance advantage to go away as devs optimize for dx12 on Windows.

I didn’t say that you did. I wanted to make it clear from the start that those apis weren’t the only, or even the main, issue when we’re looking at this space. If mesa got a complete dx12 state tracker tomorrow you’d still see perf issues b/c of platform assumptions.

I’ve had the exact opposite experience. Every game I’ve played so far has performed as good or better on Linux than on Windows, mainly because the latter sucks and is bogged down with tonnes of unnecessary overhead and legacy compatibility software.

I’ve had the exact opposite experience

Every single benchmark I’ve seen has Windows at somewhere between a small to significant advantage to games running under WINE or Proton. Games running natively under Vulkan are a wash.

The availability of games isn’t even close though. If you’re a gamer that actually cares about playing games, you’re running Windows.

If course, there are ideological reasons to want to run Linux. Some may even be valid. "I don’t like Windows" is certainly a valid argument for not using it, but saying it doesn’t change verifiable facts.

Your conclusions cant be argued without relevant information. I’ve used Linux as my primary OS for years. If I need a simple, easy to set up computer then I use macOS. I’ve not touched Windows in well over a decade.

  1. The notion that you can’t be a real "gamer" if you use Linux is ridiculous. I’ve gamed on Linux for years and its phenomenal, and I still would never consider using Windows.
  2. Game availability is quite high. Just compared to four years ago, I struggle to find something I can’t run on Linux these days.
  3. Using Linux isn’t "ideological" – whatever that means. And yes, there are numerous valid reasons to use Linux over another consumer OS.
  4. Your comments that linux automatically has reduced performance is entirely unverifiable. Benchmarks vary system by system. Personally, I’ve rarely had reduced performance playing Windows games on Linux. All games I’ve played that have native Linux support run significantly better on Linux.
  5. You mentioned Steam OS is just subpar in comparison to Windows – once again leaving out important information. What exactly is subpar? Native games, Proton games? What hardware? Steam OS is switching from Debian to Arch, which is a huge change.

My point being that your argument against linux does not include any relevant information to accurately support the conclusions you are making. Its the equivalent of me getting an HP Mini from 2009 and arguing Windows can’t run games.

Your comments that linux automatically has reduced performance is entirely unverifiable.

I just googled 5 or 6 different benchmark comparisons.

Anything running under WINE or Proton resulted in lower fps in almost all situations.

Native games using Vulkan seemed competitive, but even then performance didn’t appear to be a clear advantage for Linux.

If nothing else Vulkan seems to be nowhere near as stable as DX12. Most of that will come down to devs and chip makers prioritizing one over the other, but every game I’ve played with the option has been far buggier on Vulkan.

I’d love an open source API to become the default, just doesn’t seem like we’re there yet.

I’m less worried about "overhead" and more about cost and hardware-specific features. Valve is putting a lot of effort into making the Deck experience work like a console, including fast suspend/resume and maybe some kind of save-state thing? But that’s going to be part of their SteamOS and presumably won’t be supported under Windows. And of course, a Windows license costs at least a hundred bucks, a significant fraction of what you’d be spending on the hardware itself.

(If I get one, I’ll probably still put Windows on it, just because it would be a great platform for a lot of Game Pass games — though XCloud in browser could greatly reduce that particular draw…)

I think your worries about games not working is a bit overblown. The vast majority of games, especially ones that are at all popular, "just work", and most of those that don’t… have similar problems in Windows. Meanwhile, you’ll be dealing with a UI that’s not at all optimized for the form factor. It’s certainly doable, but probably more pain than it’s worth unless you really need GamePass(the rest of those will work fine through Proton)

It makes more sense to just run Windows on the Steam Deck.

You don’t have to worry about which Steam games will and won’t work… plus you get the option of installing games from GoG, Humble, Epic, Origin, Xbox GamePass etc

Most, if not all gaming handheld manufacturers such as Nintendo and Sony have full control over their software stack. Steam OS basically give Valve this. I would assume They don’t want to be depending on Microsoft on how the already limited hardware resources on Steam Deck is being utilized. Oh and I play GoG’s The Witcher 3, Origin’s Anthem, and Samurai Shodown on Epic with Linux just fine. No Gamepass, but I don’t have the subscription

What are you basing this on?

If I’m getting 10% better frame rates on Windows that’s going to be even more pronounced on limited hardware.

He’s basing on the fact that Linux just utilizes hardware resources better than windows. There’s a reason that we can comfortably run a full fledged desktop OS with linux on RPi, and not with Windows, and with the limited hardware resources available on Steam Deck, the overhead of running Windows may offset the benefit of running games in it’s native API. Do note that I say "may"

Every single benchmark I’ve seen has Windows at somewhere between a small to significant advantage to games running under WINE or Proton. Games running natively under Vulkan are a wash.

Then you should look at more benchmarks, or in the case of Steam Deck, the relevant ones
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAWjVthGtpM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1Y5y3cjH1Q

The fact is that Windows is not winning every single benchmarks.

Wine+Vulkan still wouldn’t win in most cases, but they might not have to. I can run RDO probably better on Windows, but I do most of my computing on Linux because it just runs better and suits my daily needs. Having games on linux means I don’t have to reboot my box just to play games and that’s a win for me

He’s basing on the fact that Linux just utilizes hardware resources better than windows.

That’s almost another converstaion topic all on it’s own. I’m just focusing on FPS in-game.

Then you should look at more benchmarks, or in the case of Steam Deck, the relevant ones

Windows still has better FPS most of the time… also, looks like as more games move to DX12 the performance difference will be even more in Windows’ favor.

Fact is, in general game availability and performance is better on Windows.

Some people might not think it’s worth paying for a Windows license for the Steam Deck, or they might just prefer to use Linux. Both are valid reasons.

Almost no one actually chooses Linux in the Steam gamer community though. It’s going to be interesting to see if that behaviour translates to the Steam Deck.

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