The Steam Deck is, of course, designed for playing Steam games. But it’s also a full PC, which means you have options just like you do on your PC. Steam has always been able to add games from other sources to your library, and the same goes for the Steam Deck. But what about Epic? How do you play Epic Games Store titles on the Steam Deck?
If for some reason you flashed Windows to your Steam Deck, installing the Epic Games Store is no problem. But that’s another story if you want to stick with Linux. While Epic Games officially supports Linux with its Easy Anti Cheat software, the company stopped short of bringing its game store to the platform.
This is where the Linux community comes in. Windows-based games can run well on Linux and the Steam Deck as we know, and it’s no different if you have a library of Epic titles. It’s not even that hard to get them on the Steam Deck. Here’s what you need to know.
How to Get Epic Games Store on Steam Deck
The official Epic Games Store client does not have a native Linux client. There are ways to run it on Linux using WINE, but there is a better way. To play Epic Games titles on the Steam Deck, we’ll be using an open source tool called Heroic Games Launcher.
Heroic Games Launcher
It acts as a native client for Epic Games on Linux with full access to your library. Check project on Github if you want to know more about how it works. Luckily, it’s extremely easy to install on the Steam Deck. For this, it is best to have a keyboard and mouse connected to your Steam Deck, but you can do without it.
- Press the Steam button on the deck.
- Scroll down to Power and select Desktop Mode.
- Once in desktop mode, click the Discover icon in the toolbar (or find it in the all apps menu if you’ve removed it).
- Search for “Heroic Games Launcher”.
- Tap Install.
Heroic Games Launcher is available as a Flatpak package, which is why it’s so easy to use on the Steam Deck. Everything you need to make it work is bundled in this single package and after a short time it will be installed and ready to use. If you want the latest version, you can upgrade to beta using the sources drop-down menu in the top right corner.
It’s a good idea to get the heroic games launcher setup while you’re in desktop mode. To authenticate with Epic Games, you have two options. You can either log in through the client via OAuth, or log in through a web browser and paste the necessary code that the launcher will need to link your account. Do not pass any of your information to the developer.
How to Add the Heroic Games Launcher to Steam
Everything should now work fine, but you don’t want to be in a situation where you have to switch to desktop mode all the time to get to the launcher. So, we need to enable Heroic Games Launcher via Steam to work in game mode. Before leaving the desktop, follow these steps.
- Open the Steam desktop client.
- Click Games in the toolbar.
- Choose the Add a non-Steam game to my library option.
- Check the box next to Heroic Games Launcher.
- Click Add Selected Programs.
- Now close Steam and return to desktop.
- Double-click/tap the return to game mode icon and the Steam Deck will reboot into the handheld-friendly user interface.
You will now find Heroic Games Launcher in your library on the non-Steam tab. Just open it, press play and the app will launch in full screen. From here you can select your games to install or play as you wish. It should be noted though that you will likely have to configure the controls yourself or use one of the community creations. Heroic Games Launcher supports controller input, but it looks like the Steam Deck controller is not natively supported at this time.
How to Install Epic Games Titles on Steam Deck
Installing games on the Steam Deck with the heroic games launcher is no different from any other store or launcher. When your account is linked, your entire library will be available for installation. The usual caveats apply, however. In almost all cases today, online multiplayer titles will not work if they are anti-cheat. And don’t get excited for Fortnite, even though Epic supports Linux with EAC, it hasn’t been enabled.
What you’re also missing is any kind of compatibility information. Valve tests the performance of games on Steam on the Steam Deck, you don’t have that advantage when running them elsewhere. So it’s a lot more trial and error. However, resources like ProtonDB are worth checking out because if a Steam version works, chances are you can get the same game running through Epic.
Heroic Games Launcher also lets you modify Proton builds and use WineGE custom builds, which might help you get something working properly. Keep an eye on the WineGE Github repo for updates on the games it specifically adds support for.
Since Epic Games is always giving away two free games a week, it’s a handy way to get more games on your Steam Deck. It’s nowhere near as seamless as Steam, but once the initial setup is done, the rest is pretty easy. Heroic Games Launcher will also continue to improve, so the experience will only get better.
An upcoming alternative comes from Lutris, a well-known Linux game launcher. It also supports the Epic Games Store, but a Steam Deck compatible version is still in beta at this time. When it’s ready, we’ll be spoiled for choice, and Lutris has the added bonus of being able to handle so much more than Epic Games.