How to install and play games from the Epic Games Store on Steam Deck
The Steam Deck is, of course, designed to play games from Steam. But it’s also a complete PC, so that means you have options as you do on your PC. Steam has always been able to add games from other sources to your library, and the same applies to 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 not a problem at all. But its a different 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 games store to the platform.
That’s where the Linux community steps up to the plate. Windows-based games can work fine 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 difficult to get them onto the Steam Deck. Here’s what you need to know.
How to get the Epic Games Store on Steam Deck
The official Epic Games Store client doesn’t have a native Linux client. There are ways to run it on Linux using WINE, but there’s a better way. To play Epic Games titles on the Steam Deck, we’re going to use an open-source tool called the Heroic Games Launcher.
Heroic Games Launcher
It acts as a native client for Epic Games on Linux with full access to your library. Check out the project on Github if you want to know more about how it works. Fortunately, it’s extremely easy to install on the Steam Deck. For this, it’s best to have a keyboard and mouse connected to your Steam Deck, but you can get by without.
- Press the Steam button on the Deck.
- Go down to Power and select Desktop Mode.
- Once in Desktop Mode, click on the Discover icon on the toolbar (or find it in the all apps menu if you removed it).
- Search for “Heroic Games Launcher”.
- Hit 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 wrapped up in this single package and after a short time, it’ll be installed and ready to use. If you want the latest version, you can switch to the beta using the sources dropdown menu in the top right-hand 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 you can log in through a web browser and paste the necessary code the launcher will need to link your account. Neither pass any of your information to the developer.
How to add Heroic Games Launcher to Steam
All should now be working well, but you don’t want to be in a situation where you have to come to Desktop Mode all the time to access the Launcher. So we need to enable Heroic Games Launcher through Steam to work in Gaming Mode. Before leaving the desktop, follow these steps.
- Open the Steam desktop client.
- Click Games in the toolbar.
- Choose the option to Add a Non-Steam Game to My Library.
- Check the box next to Heroic Games Launcher.
- Click Add Selected Programs.
- Now, close Steam and go back to the desktop.
- Double-click/tap on the Return to Gaming Mode icon and the Steam Deck will reboot back into the handheld-friendly UI.
You’ll now find Heroic Games Launcher in your library on the non-Steam tab. Just open it up, hit Play and the app will launch full screen. From here you can select your games to install or play as you wish. It’s worth noting though that you probably need to set up the controls yourself or use one of the community creations. Heroic Games Launcher does support controller input but it seems the Steam Deck controller isn’t natively supported right now.
How to install titles from Epic Games 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 whole library will be available to install. The usual caveats apply, though. In virtually every case right now, online multiplayer titles won’t work if they have anti-cheat. And don’t get excited for Fortnite, even though Epic supports Linux with EAC, it hasn’t been enabled.
The thing you also miss is any kind of compatibility information. Valve tests the games on Steam for performance on Steam Deck, you don’t have that benefit when running them from elsewhere. So it’s a lot more trial and error. However, resources like ProtonDB are worth checking out because if a Steam version works there’s a good chance you can get the same game running through Epic.
Heroic Games Launcher also allows you to change Proton versions and use the WineGE custom versions which might help you get something running well. Keep tabs on the WineGE Github repo for updates on games it specifically adds support for.
Considering Epic Games still gives away two free games a week this is 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 fairly easy. Heroic Games Launcher will continue to improve as well so the experience will only get better.
An upcoming alternative comes from Lutris, a well-known Linux game launcher. It, too, supports the Epic Games Store but a Steam Deck-friendly version is still in beta right now. When it’s ready we’ll be spoiled for choice, and Lutris has the added benefit of being able to handle much more than Epic Games.