Since Valve announced their Steam Deck, this is all great news for Linux gamers and, by extension, future Chromebook gamers. One of their initial goals was to make anti-cheat software compatible with Wine and Proton (the programs that run Windows games on Linux). This would directly benefit Steam’s official support on Chromebooks – codenamed Borealis – which was originally scheduled to release a public beta roughly now. They have made it clear that all of the work done in the Steam Deck will help the Linux community at large as well. We can now say with certainty that they have started to keep their promise.
Why anti-cheating matters
What’s wrong with the anti-cheat anyway? As the name suggests, this prevents hackers from gaining an unfair advantage in competitive online games such as ARMA, Fornite, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, New World, PUBG, Star Wars: Squadrons and many more. games in the market. No one likes to play what is essentially a bot in impossible mode. Historically, anti-cheat software has not worked with Wine at all, and this is due to either a lack of technology or a lack of interest from game developers. Everything is changing thanks to Valve. They are making Linux a mainstream in the gaming world.
Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) was the first to confirm full support for Wine. They released an update to their software so that game developers can now activate and use it for their games today. A full list of games that use EAC is available on their official website.
In the wake of the EAC, BattlEye was quick to also vocalize their support to come. While it’s not yet ready for prime time, it will arrive when the Steam Deck launches in December. A full list of supported games can be found on the main page of their website.
Finally, we also have confirmation that support for XIGNCODE3 is under development. Only a handful of well-known games use this lesser-known anti-cheat. Aion – a popular MMORPG that my wife used to play – uses it. Now she’ll soon be able to relive those memories by playing on our home Chromebook or Steam Deck!
Still work to do
There is a caveat with all of this. It is up to game developers, not anti-cheat vendors, to enable anti-cheat support in Wine (by default, this only works on Windows). In some cases, like EAC, Wine doesn’t use the same kernel-level protections (or intrusions, depending on who you ask) as it does on Windows. In theory, this makes it less secure. In practice, I doubt it will make a big difference. Only time will tell.
Which games will actually support Wine? The great folks at The Verge reached out to the game developers to ask if they plan to enable Wine support for their anti-cheat software. In summary, about a third of them said yes, a third said maybe and a third had nothing to comment at this time. There hasn’t been a single “no” so far, so it’s very encouraging!
Do some games you want to play use anti-cheat? Are you looking forward to playing them through Borealis on your Chromebook, through a Steam Deck, or on a standard Linux computer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!