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The much-anticipated release of Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) expands the reach of the Call of Duty franchise to various platforms, including Steam. With the game's availability on Steam, the natural question arises – can you play it on the go with the Steam Deck? Here’s what you need to know.

Modern Warfare 3 and Steam Deck Compatibility

At launch, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is not verified for Steam Deck. This means that the game isn't optimized for the portable gaming device, primarily due to compatibility issues with the SteamOS.

The Core Issue

SteamOS, based on Linux, does not currently support the Ricochet anti-cheat system used by Call of Duty games. Ricochet is integral to maintaining fair play in MW3 but requires Windows-specific files, which are absent in SteamOS.

Workaround: Installing Windows on Steam Deck

For those who can't wait to jump into MW3's campaign or multiplayer on their Steam Deck, there is a workaround – installing Windows on your Steam Deck.

Considerations Before Installation

  • Performance: There's no guarantee that MW3 will run optimally on the Steam Deck through Windows, as the game is not officially verified for the platform.
  • Multiplayer Experience: Playing unverified games like MW3 on Steam Deck may lead to a subpar multiplayer experience due to potential performance issues.
  • Controller Compatibility: While the Steam Deck is designed for portability, you might need to attach external devices like a controller or keyboard and mouse for an effective gaming session.

Installation Steps

  1. Back-Up Your Data: Always start by backing up any important data on your Steam Deck.
  2. Create a Windows Installation Drive: Using a PC, prepare a USB drive with the Windows installation media.
  3. Enter the BIOS of the Steam Deck: Power down your Steam Deck, then hold the 'Volume Up' button while you power it back on.
  4. Install Windows: Follow the on-screen instructions to install Windows on your Steam Deck.

Note: This process may affect your Steam Deck's default functionalities, and you should proceed only if you're comfortable with potential risks.


While MW3's compatibility with Steam Deck isn't available out of the box, determined gamers have the option to retrofit their device with Windows. Keep in mind the potential drawbacks and technical challenges before proceeding. Whether it’s battling Zombies or navigating through the campaign, your quest for portable MW3 gameplay is not without hope.

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility – mod your Steam Deck wisely!

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