Luckily, there’s a clever workaround that allows you to play games from your Epic library on Steam Deck in just a few minutes without the risk of messing up your SteamOS installation. Let’s dive into this.
How to Install the Epic Launcher on Steam Deck, Step by Step
I learned this technique from YouTuber Gaming On Linux so go to their channel if you want a video guide. Here is my step by step breakdown.
one. Hold down the Steam Deck power button to open the power menu, then select “Switch to Desktop” to switch to the Linux desktop.
2. Make sure the desktop version of Steam is running. This will allow you to bring up the on-screen keyboard by holding Steam + X.
3. Open Firefox (or Chrome if you have it installed) and search for “Epic Installer” to open the Epic Games download page. Download the Windows executable. (If you are reading this article on your Steam deck, here’s a link!)
4. Open Steam. Use the menu item “Game” > “Add a non-Steam game to my library” to open the dialog box. Click Browse. From the dropdown, click “to navigate to the top level folder in Steam Deck, then follow this path until you reach the downloads folder:
/ home / deck / Downloads
Now change the “File Types” dropdown to “All Files” and you should see the Epic installer in your folder. Click Open to add it to the list of non-Steam games, then click Add Selected Programs.
five. Search your library for “Epic” to find the installer. Right-click and go to Properties > Compatibility, check “Force specific Steam Play Compatibility Tool” and select the latest stable version of Proton.
6. Click Play to launch the installer. It will take a minute or so and then disappear. You have successfully installed the Windows version of Epic Launcher. inside SteamOS. Now we just need to make it so that you can actually use it.
7. This is the only step that is a little tedious: you need to find the folder in Steamapps where the Epic launcher is installed. Open Dolphin Explorer from the taskbar and click on the hamburger menu at the top right to enable “Show Hidden Files”. Now navigate to the following path:
Home / .local / share / Steam / steamapps / compatdata
If you have multiple games installed, you will see a set of folders here with their respective ID numbers. One of these folders hides the Epic Games executable. If you haven’t added any other non-Steam games, it’s fairly easy to find them, with many more numbers in the folder than any official Steam games. Start with the highest numbered folder and keep opening “pfx/drive_c/Program Files (x86)” folders inside until you find the one that contains Epic Games. When you’ve done that, follow this path:
Home / .local / share / steam / steamapps / compatdata / [big folder number] /pfx/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Epic Games/Launcher/Portal/Binaries/Win64
8. Back in Steam, right-click on the Epic installer entry in your library and select Properties > Shortcut. Here you are going to highlight the Target box, right-click, and hit Paste. Then use your keyboard (Steam+X) to add quotes at the beginning and end again.
Do the same for the “Start in” field, but remove EpicGamesLauncher.exe from the end, because here we’re just telling Steam what folder to look in. Don’t forget to keep the quotes at the beginning and at the end. (If you find copy/paste too tedious on Steam Deck trackpads, use the Browse option instead to navigate to the folder.
nine. Rename the shortcut from EpicInstaller-[numbers].msi into something nicer. I just made “Epic Games”. (You can also add an icon, but it won’t show up in the SteamOS UI.)
10. Setup completed! (Well, mostly). Click the “Return to Game Mode” icon on your desktop to boot into SteamOS again.
eleven. Back in SteamOS, open your library and navigate to the non-Steam games section, which should make it easier to find your new Epic library. Select it, then click the controller icon to customize the controls. I recommend selecting the Gamepad with Mouse Trackpad template, enabling the back grip buttons, and setting the two grips to left/right click. This way you can still use the controller buttons as you normally would, using the trackpad and grab buttons to navigate the Epic Launcher UI.
12. Download the launcher and log into your account. It loads a little slow, so give it a minute or so. Once downloaded, click on your profile icon in the top right corner and open Settings. Disable the following:
- Run when my computer starts
- Show Free Games Notifications
- Show notifications for news and special offers
Disabling these notifications will make the user experience more manageable.
It is still slow, but now you can freely install games and run them from the launcher in the launcher. Just don’t expect things to magically work: games with unsupported anti-cheat still don’t work, and compatibility may not be for every game you try through the Epic launcher.
Over time, there will definitely be better ways to play Epic games: Heroic Launcher plans to support Flatpak, which will make installing it on Steam Deck as easy as emulators. There are also Lutris, which had issues with Steam Deck when I first tried it, but it should get better over time. However, for now, simply adding the Windows launcher to Steam is the easiest and cleanest solution.