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Fortnite makes it to the Steam Deck, via Xbox Cloud Gaming

A streaming workaround with no subscription required

Steam Deck news followers may recall Epic Games deciding against making Fortnite compatible with the Deck, citing cheating concerns despite simultaneously making sure its own Easy Anti-Cheat system could work on the handheld. That hasn’t changed, but there is now at least one legit way to play the crossover-happy battle royale on the Steam Deck, as it’s just launched on Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Microsoft’s announcement post focuses on how this will let subscribers of the game streaming service play Fortnite on iOS and Android (the native mobile version was infamously kicked off both the App Store and Google Play in 2020, leading to far too much legal wrangling to explain in parentheses). But because you can get Xbox Cloud Gaming running on the Steam Deck, it’s now possible to play Fortnite on it as well. Over the internet rather than locally, but still.

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I can’t say I’m as enamoured with Fortnite as Ed now is, but since I already had Xbox Cloud Gaming set up on one of my Steam Deck, I had no technical problems using it to link my Epic account and drop into a couple of matches. It all seems to work fine, even the Deck’s right trackpad as an aiming alternative to the right thumbstick, and maintains a solid 55fps.

Some Xbox cloud games I’ve tried on the Deck haven’t worked as well, with fun-spoiling issues like audio desync and looping launch failures, so praise be there’s nothing like that here. Only the mildest cloud streaming caveats apply, like the game running at 720p with black bars (the Steam Deck has a taller 800p screen), though on my 5GHz Wi-Fi connection there’s very little visual degradation. Results may vary if you try streaming over a ropey connection.

Unlike most other games in the Xbox cloud library, Fortnite also doesn’t require a Game Pass subscription to be streamable. You just need a basic Microsoft account, reflecting Fortnite’s free-to-play model. That’s pretty neat in itself – maybe more F2P games could come to Xbox Cloud Gaming in the future.

But yeah, Fortnite. Steam Deck. It’s there if you want it, and if you haven’t set up Xbox Cloud Gaming on your Steam Deck, have a read of our guide.

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Fortnite Battle Royale

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About the Author
James Archer avatar

James Archer

Hardware Editor

James had previously hung around beneath the RPS treehouse as a freelancer, before being told to drop the pine cones and climb up to become hardware editor. He has over a decade’s experience in testing/writing about tech and games, something you can probably tell from his hairline.