Can you play Call of Duty on the Steam Deck? Technically, it’s possible

Can you play Call of Duty from your Steam Deck?

Can you play Call of Duty on the Steam Deck? Technically, it's possible. Image shows the Steam Deck with the Call of Duty logo, on a light green background.

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As one of the most iconic multiplayer first-person shooters out there, it’s no wonder that gamers are asking if you can play Call of Duty on the Steam Deck. Valve’s handheld gaming PC, the Steam Deck, has been making waves in the gaming community, promising a portable gaming experience like no other. With its powerful hardware and extensive library of games, many gamers are wondering if they can play popular titles like Call of Duty on this portable device, to take the action with them on the go.

However, world-renowned games require high levels of anti-cheat to keep the gaming community happy, and often this comes at the cost of Linux compatibility. So, this article will explore if it’s possible to play Call of Duty from your Steam Deck, what workarounds might have to be used, and provide answers to some frequently asked questions.

Can you play Call of Duty on the Steam Deck?

In short, there is a way of playing Call of Duty on the Steam Deck, but it’s a bit of a lengthy process. Although the Call of Duty games are not natively playable on the Steam handheld, the determination of the gaming community for the platform to be accessible to all means that there is a workaround to launching the game on the device; but it means ditching Linux in favor of Windows.

In order to get the Call of Duty games on your Steam Deck, you will need to install Windows 10/11 onto your console. The position of the Deck as a portable gaming PC means that it’s possible to install Windows and dual-boot Windows and Linux. A useful guide to this process can be found on Dexerto, which leads you through the installation process step-by-step. It’s hoped that accessing the game will get easier in the future when the Call of Duty titles make their way onto Xbox Game Pass – potentially sometime in 2024.

Compatibility of Call of Duty Games with the Steam Deck

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a highly acclaimed entry in the franchise, was released on October 28, 2022, and is available on various platforms, including Steam. This means that you can play Modern Warfare 2 on the Steam Deck, as the developers decided to branch away from Battle.net exclusivity. Unfortunately, in order to do this you will have to install a Windows operating system onto your console in order to launch the game: Modern Warfare 2’s Ricochet anti-cheat is incompatible as incompatible gets. However, it’s also essential to note that the game’s performance may vary on the handheld device.

Call of Duty: Warzone

Warzone, the popular free-to-play battle royale mode of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, has gained a massive player base since its release. Unfortunately, as of now, Warzone is not natively supported on the Steam Deck due to the game’s limited player base on Linux. 

However, there is a workaround to play Warzone (and Modern Warfare 2) on the Steam Deck through dual booting. By dual booting the Steam Deck with another operating system, such as Windows, you can access Warzone and enjoy the game on this portable device.

Call of Duty: Cold War

As of the time of writing, Call of Duty: Cold War is unsupported on the Steam Deck. The game is currently not functional on the handheld device, and there is no official word on whether it will be compatible in the future either. However, it’s important to keep an eye on updates and announcements from Valve and the game developers for any potential compatibility update: this includes the game moving onto Xbox Game Pass.

✓ Marla’s thoughts

Tips for Optimal Performance

To ensure the best possible gaming experience while playing Call of Duty games on the Steam Deck, especially through dual-booting, here are some tips to follow:

Keep your Steam Deck’s firmware and software up to date to benefit from performance improvements and bug fixes.

Close any unnecessary background applications to free up system resources and improve overall performance.

Monitor your device’s temperature and take breaks if it gets too hot to prevent overheating.

Final thoughts

So, while Call of Duty is not currently natively playable on the Steam Deck, like many other games that are incompatible with Linux, there is a workaround that involves dual-booting both Windows and Linux to get the anti-cheat running smoothly from your console. It’s hoped that at some point in the future, the Call of Duty games will be moved onto Xbox Game Pass, which can be accessed a lot more easily on the Steam Deck than the installation of a second operating system.