Valve's newly-announced Steam Deck has a nice bonus for Linux gamers — it's helping to improve Linux anti-cheat by working with Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye to provide Proton support for their software.
The Steam Deck was announced earlier today as a new handheld gaming PC from Valve. Aiming to launch later this year, it looks like a pretty powerful little device. However, there's one important problem that's not immediately evident to most gamers: it uses a Linux-based operating system and many anti-cheat solutions do not work on Linux. That means that you would have a hard time playing some of your favorite games, but worry not — Valve is working on a solution.
How Valve is Making Linux Anti-Cheat Better for Steam Deck
Linux anti-cheat solutions are pretty weak compared to what's offered on PC. As an example, neither Easy Anti-Cheat nor BattlEye work on Linux. However, Valve is working on Proton to solve this problem.
Proton is a compatibility layer that allows Windows games to run on Linux-based operating systems. It's an integral part of the Steam Deck, a handheld gaming PC that will be using an upgraded version SteamOS when it launches later in 2021. Valve has made its intentions clear to work with anti-cheat companies to make Proton compatibility a reality.
"We’re working with BattlEye and EAC to get support for Proton ahead of launch," Valve explained in the Steam Deck FAQ.
"We recommend using user-space anti-cheat components for best results, as they can typically run in the Wine environment and provide the same level of functionality," read the Steamworks documentation on the matter. "Kernel-space solutions are not currently supported and are not recommended. We have been working with most anti-cheat technology providers to provide Proton compatibility. If your solution currently isn't working, please reach out to both your vendor and Valve for support."
As one might expect, you can't play a game that uses EAC or BattlEye if the anti-cheat doesn't work — it would be pretty poor anti-cheat software if it let you play a game when it wasn't running. Once Valve has worked out a solution, you'll soon find that a lot more Linux games will be playable on Linux — and on the Steam Deck, too.
Update (07/16/21, 2:54 PM) – We have added a quote to better clarify how Valve is working to get EAC and Battleye working before the Steam Deck's launch.
What do you think of Valve working to make Proton compatible with Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye? What games could you not play due to a lack of Linux anti-cheat? Let us know in the comments below!