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How to get the Epic Games Launcher on your Steam Deck

Play your Epic Games library on your Steam Deck

A screenshot of the Epic Games Launcher on the Steam Deck. Image: Epic Games
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

A Steam Deck is basically a handheld, Linux-based computer dedicated to running your Steam games whenever and wherever you want. With a little work, you can get access to non-Steam game libraries like PlayStation Plus Cloud Streaming or Xbox Cloud Gaming. It’s even possible to get the Epic Games Launcher working on your Steam Deck and get access to those Epic exclusives.

Our guide to installing the Epic Games Launcher on your Steam Deck will walk you through every step you need to start playing Epic games to your Steam Deck.

Switch to Desktop Mode

Before anything else, you’ll need to switch over to the Steam Deck’s Desktop Mode to get at the underlying SteamOS. Hit the Steam button and scroll down to Power. In the next menu, choose Switch to Desktop Mode.

The Steam Deck’s Power menu with Switch To Desktop highlighted
Switch to Desktop Mode in the Power menu.
Image: Valve via Polygon

In Desktop Mode, you can use the touchscreen to interact with some things. More useful, though, is using the right trackpad to move the mouse, the right trigger to left-click, and the left trigger to right-click. Yes, the clicking is backward, but it kind of works once you get used to it.

Install Proton

Unlike getting Xbox Cloud Gaming on the Steam Deck (which runs through a browser), the Epic Games Launcher is its own Windows-based app — much like PlayStation Plus. To get around this, you’ll need to install Proton, an emulator that tricks Windows programs into running on SteamOS (Linux).

Using SteamOS’s Discover to install ProtonUp-Qt.
Use Discover to install ProtonUp-Qt.
Image: Valve via Polygon

In Desktop Mode, click on Discover, the shopping bag icon on the left side of the taskbar. Hit Steam + X to pull up the on-screen keyboard and type “ProtonUp” in the search bar. Click Install on ProtonUp-Qt.

Using Proton in SteamOS to install the latest version.
Install the most recent version of Proton.
Image: Valve via Polygon

Hit the Application Launcher (the start button on the task bar), and go to Utilities to launch ProtonUP-Qt and Choose Add Version. Make sure the Compatibility Tool dropdown is set to GE-Proton, and pick the most recent version — as of this writing, it’s GE-Proton7-43.

Once it’s installed, go to the taskbar and right-click on the Steam icon. Choose Exit, and then relaunch Steam — either with the desktop icon or by going to the Application Launcher > Games > Steam.

Install the Epic Games Launcher

Open a browser from the desktop (like Firefox) and head to the Epic Games site to download the Launcher. Make sure you grab the Windows version — it’ll be a .msi file.

Don’t launch it yet, though. First, you have to work with Steam and do some convincing.

Adding the EpicInstaller to the Steam Library
Add the EpicInstaller to the Steam Library.
Image: Valve via Polygon

Open Steam. In the bottom left, click on Add Game > Add a Non-Steam Game. In the new window, hit Browse. Navigate to /home/deck/Downloads/ (or wherever you stored the installer) and change the file type to All Files. Pick the EpicInstaller you just downloaded and hit open. Back in the first window, hit Add Selected Programs.

Forcing compatibility in SteamOS with Proton.
Use the latest version of Proton and Force compatibility.
Image: Valve via Polygon

Open your Steam Library and scroll down to the new EpicInstaller entry. Right-click on it with the left trigger and go to Properties > Compatibility. Check the box next to Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool. Select the most recent version of Proton from the dropdown.

Go back to your Steam Library and hit Play to launch the installer. Hit Install when the new window pops up and wait.

Change the Target location

Now that it’s installed, you have to tell the Steam Library entry to run the Launcher instead of the Installer. And to do that, you have to find our way to the Epic Games directory. Click on Home in the Places bar on the left. Over on the right side of the window, click the hamburger button to open the menu and select Show Hidden Files.

You’ll see new grayed-out folders in the Dolphin window — the ones with a . in front of their names. Navigate into the folders by double-clicking on them and head to /.local/share/Steam/steamapps/compatdata. The folders here are just series of numbers, so you’re looking for the most recent (or only, if you’re lucky) one — that should be the one with Epic Games in it. If you need to dig around for it, use the hamburger button and Sort By > Modified.

A SteamOS screenshot of the Dolphin File Manager displaying the Epic Games folder.
The Epic Games folder takes some digging to find.
Image: Valve via Polygon

From there, you need to keep digging a little to /[series of numbers]/pfx/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Epic Games/Launcher/Portal/Binaries/Win32/.

Scroll down to EpicGamesLauncher.exe. Right-click on it, and choose Copy Location.

Go back to your Steam Library and right-click on the EpicInstaller entry.

First, pull up the onscreen keyboard with Steam + X and rename it to something friendlier like Epic Games Launcher.

Updating the Target and Start In entires for the Epic Games Launcher in SteamOS
Update the Target and Start In entries.
Image: Valve via Polygon

In the Target field, highlight everything except the quotes. Right-click on the highlighted text and paste in the address you just copied above.

Below that, highlight everything except the quotes in the Start In field. Right-click and paste again. Delete EpicGamesLauncher.exe from the end — make sure the leave the quote.

Switch back to Gaming Mode

Get back to the desktop and double-click on the Return to Gaming Mode icon.

Launch the Epic Games Store

You’ll find your new Epic Games Launcher in the Non-Steam Games tab of your Library. The first time you launch it, it will probably update, and then you’ll have to sign into your account. Hold off on that one second, though, and set up some controls to make life easier.

Hit the Steam button and select Controller Settings. Change the current layout to Gamepad with Mouse Trackpad and then select Edit Layout. Scroll down to Trackpads.

Editing the Steam Controller Settings to put mouse control on the Steam Deck’s trackpads
Edit the Controller Settings to get mouse control on your Steam Deck.
Image: Valve via Polygon

Set the Right Trackpad Behavior to As Mouse. Click in the R Click box, tab to the Mouse menu, and choose Left Mouse Click.

Set the Left Trackpad Behavior to Scroll Wheel. Click in the L Click box, tab to the Mouse menu, and choose Right Mouse Click. Click in the Clockwise Command box and set it Mouse > Scroll Wheel Down, and do the opposite for Counter Clockwise Command (or vice versa).

Now you’ve have some makeshift mouse controls for the Launcher (and games) with the Steam Deck’s trackpads.

Pull up the keyboard with Steam + X and get signed in.

Some notes...

Putting anything beyond Steam onto your Steam Deck is asking it to do something it wasn’t expressly designed for — and you’ll meet with varying degrees of success doing it. Xbox Cloud Gaming works very well, PlayStation Plus Cloud Streaming works a little less well, and the EGS… is pretty hit or miss. Let’s talk about the issues we noticed.

The Epic Games Launcher launches in a window that’s just not the right size for the Steam Deck’s display, and making that window fullscreen makes it too big for the display. So that’s just something you’ll have to live with. Games work in fullscreen without issue, though.

From the Launcher, you can install games normally. You’ll have to be patient while things download, since they can’t (or won’t) download in the background.

Exiting out of games seems to cause some confusion in the app, so you might have to close and restart the Epic Games Launcher every time.

We got Maneater running with no issue, but there seems to be a problem with certain games — like Kerbal Space Program — that launch their own launchers. Games like that just don’t work. There do seem to be workarounds (like adding the .exe files to Steam after installing), but they’re a lot more intensive than we can cover here (or are comfortable covering) and have their own issues with controls and compatibility.

You can sidestep some of these problems with third-party software emulators like Heroic or Lutris, but know that by using such programs, you run the risk, however small, of getting banned or running into other problems with your Steam Deck.