Can you play Modern Warfare 2 on Steam Deck?

MW2 on Steam Deck

If you are wondering if Modern Warfare 2 can be played on the Steam Deck then this guide is for you! But while Modern Warfare 2 works great on the Steam Deck prepare to do some work before it launches on it.

Despite it being several months since the launch of the gangbuster-selling, AAA shooter, there’s still no way to play Modern Warfare 2 natively on the Steam Deck at launch.

This is due to the Linux distribution, Arch, that SteamOS is built on. Not only is it incompatible with Modern Warfare 2’s Ricochet anti-cheat system, it is even more difficult for Valve to emulate what it requires via Proton.

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There are a few ways around it, but there’s a massive catch. You’ll need to install Windows or use Steam’s built-in streaming with Steam Link to beam it from your Windows PC to the Deck itself.

You can play Modern Warfare 2 on Steam Deck – with Windows

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as Infinity Ward has stated that if a workaround does arise, it’s not going to get you banned. However, a workaround already exists but requires a lot of legwork to get running.

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You’ll need to install Windows on your Steam Deck via a USB drive. This, along with the minute size of the Deck’s SSD – even at 512GB – means that you’d probably have to sacrifice SteamOS in favor of Windows.

Why do you want to install it on an SSD and not the microSD card? Well, microSD cards might work like magic on SteamOS, but for Windows? You never want to load a bloated operating system on something so small.

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Once Windows is installed, it appears that Modern Warfare 2 works almost flawlessly. Testers on the early release of the game’s campaign mode have indicated that there’s enough juice on the machine to play at 800p, 60FPS, with medium settings.

To put that into context, that’s basically what you’d have been playing on an Xbox One or PS4. Plus, with additions of improved dock support, and external storage being quite easy on Windows with the device, you might not have to also sacrifice the nearly 200GB this game will eventually take up.

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Why Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t work on SteamOS

Ricochet needs to hook onto certain parts of Windows to verify cheating. As Linux is still a tiny sliver of the player base, it’s clear resources have been allocated elsewhere.

Even the two intermediary layers that Valve and Linux users employ to get Windows games running don’t work. Neither Proton nor Wine recreates the needed processes for Ricochet to work.