I play most of my PC games through Steam, but thanks to Epic’s weekly giveaways over the past two years, I’ve amassed a surprisingly large collection of games that I wish I could play on Steam Deck, the new computer valve pocket. gaming computer. The problem: Epic doesn’t have an official launcher for Linux, and the third-party launcher options that exist on Linux are currently difficult to install.
Luckily, there’s a clever workaround that can get you playing games from your Epic library on the Steam Deck in just minutes, without the risk of messing up your SteamOS installation. Let’s go.
How to Install the Epic Launcher on the Steam Deck Step by Step
I learned this technique from YouTuber Gaming On Linux, so head over to their channel if you want a guide in the form of a video. Here’s my step-by-step breakdown.
1. Hold down the Steam Deck power button to bring up 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 open the on-screen keyboard by holding Steam + X.
3. Open Firefox (or Chrome if you have it installed) and search for “Epic installer” to bring up the Epic Games download page. Download the Windows executable. (If you are reading this article on your Steam Deck, here is the link!)
4. Open Steam. Use the Game > Add non-Steam game to my library menu option to bring up a dialog. Click Browse. In the drop-down list, click “https://www.pcgamer.com/” to navigate to the top level folder on the Steam Deck, then follow this path until you get to your download folder:
Now change the “File Types” drop-down menu to “All Files” and you should see the Epic installer in your folder. Click Open to add it to Steam’s list of non-Steam games, then click Add Selected Programs.
5. Search “Epic” in your library to find the installer. Right click and go to Properties > Compatibility and check the box “Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool” and select the latest stable version of Proton.
6. Click Play to run the installer. It will take about a minute and then disappear. You have successfully installed the Windows version of the Epic Launcher inside Steam OS. Now we just have to do it so you can actually use it.
7. This is the only slightly tedious step: you have to find the folder in Steamapps where the Epic launcher is installed. Open Dolphin File Explorer from the taskbar and tap the hamburger menu in the upper right corner to enable “Show hidden files”. Now navigate to the following path:
Home / .local / share / Steam / steamapps / compatdata
If you’ve installed a bunch of games, you’ll see a set of folders here with ID numbers that correspond to them. In one of these folders hides your Epic Games executable. If you haven’t added any other non-Steam games, this should be easy enough to find: the folder will be much larger than any official Steam game. Start with the folder with the highest number and continue to open the “pfx/drive_c/ProgramFiles (x86)” folders until you find the one that contains Epic Games. When you do, navigate to this path:
Home / .local / share / Steam / steamapps / compatdata / [big folder number] /pfx/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Epic Games/Launcher/Portal/Binaries/Win64
Find EpicGames Launcher.exe at the bottom of the folder. Right-click > Copy Location.
8. Back in Steam, right-click the Epic Installer entry in your library and navigate to Properties > Shortcut. Here you will highlight the Target field, right click and press Paste. Then use the keyboard (Steam+X) to add the quotes at the beginning and at the end.
Do the same for the “Start in” field, but delete EpicGamesLauncher.exe at the end, because we’re just telling Steam which folder to look in here. Remember to keep the quotes at the beginning and end. (If you find copy/pasting too cumbersome on Steam Deck trackpads, you can use the Browse Here option instead to navigate to the folder.
9. Rename your shortcut from EpicInstaller-[numbers].msi to something nicer. I just did “Epic Games”. (You can also add an icon, but it won’t appear in the SteamOS UI.)
ten. Setup complete! (Finally, above all). Click the “Return to Game Mode” icon on the desktop to reboot into SteamOS.
11. 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 configure your controls. I recommend selecting the “Gamepad with Mouse Trackpad” model, enabling the back grip buttons, and setting two grips to left/right click. This way, you can still use the controller buttons as usual, while using the trackpad and grip buttons to navigate the Epic launcher UI.
12. Start the launcher and log in to your account. It’s a bit slow to load, so give it a minute or two. Once loaded, click on your profile icon in the upper right corner and open Settings. Disable the following items:
- Run when my computer starts
- Show Free Game Notifications
- Show notifications of news and special offers
Disabling these notifications will make the UI a bit more manageable.
It’s still slow, but now you’re free to install games and run them from your launcher in a launcher. Don’t expect everything to work like magic: games with unsupported anti-cheat are still banned, and compatibility may not be in place for every game you try through the Epic Launcher.
Over time, there will certainly be better ways to play your Epic games: the third party heroic launcher provides Flatpak support, which would make it as easy to install on the Steam Deck as emulators. There is also Lutris, which had issues with the Steam Deck when I first tried it, but should improve over time. For now, however, simply adding the Windows launcher to Steam is the easiest and cleanest solution.