Can you play Modern Warfare 2 on Steam Deck?

Activision’s latest AAA-shooter is almost here. But can you play Modern Warfare 2 on Steam Deck? Well, it’s complicated.

Modern Warfare 2 is shaping up to be yet another gangbuster-selling AAA shooter from Activision. But, no, don’t expect to be able to play Modern Warfare 2 on the Steam Deck at launch.

SteamOS, which is a fork of a distribution of Linux called Arch, is not directly compatible with Modern Warfare 2’s Ricochet anti-cheat system.

Why Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t work on SteamOS

Ricochet needs to hook onto certain parts of Windows to verify cheating. As Linux is still a tiny sliver of the player base, it’s clear resources have been allocated elsewhere.

Even the two intermediary layers that Valve and Linux users employ to get Windows games running don’t work. Neither Proton nor Wine recreates the needed processes for Ricochet to work.

You can play Modern Warfare 2 on Steam Deck – with Windows

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as Infinity Ward has stated that if a workaround does arise, it’s not going to get you banned. However, a workaround already exists but requires a lot of legwork to get running.

You’ll need to install Windows on your Steam Deck via a USB drive. This, along with the minute size of the Deck’s SSD – even at 512GB – means that you’d probably have to sacrifice SteamOS in favor of Windows.

Why do you want to install it on an SSD and not the microSD card? Well, microSD cards might work like magic on SteamOS, but for Windows? You never want to load a bloated operating system on something so small.

Once Windows is installed, it appears that Modern Warfare 2 works almost flawlessly. Testers on the early release of the game’s campaign mode have indicated that there’s enough juice on the machine to play at 800p, 60FPS, with medium settings.

To put that into context, that’s basically what you’d have been playing on an Xbox One or PS4. Plus, with additions of improved dock support, and external storage being quite easy on Windows with the device, you might not have to also sacrifice the nearly 200GB this game will eventually take up.

Be sure to check out everything to do with Modern Warfare 2, including our continued coverage and review-in-progress.

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