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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 Methods


  1. Steam Deck's Remote Play
    1. Overview: This feature allows you to stream Call of Duty MW3 from your main gaming PC to your Steam Deck.
    • Setup:
      1. On your PC: Install MW3 and ensure it's added to your Steam library.
      2. On your Steam Deck: Connect to the same network as your PC.
      3. Enable Remote Play: Go to Steam settings on both devices and enable the Remote Play feature.
      4. Launch the Game: On your Steam Deck, navigate to MW3 in your Steam library and select 'Stream'.
    • Pros:
      1. No additional hardware modifications needed.
      2. Full game performance, as it relies on your PC's hardware.
    • Cons:
      1. Requires a strong network connection.
      2. Dependent on the availability and performance of your main PC.
  2. Cloud Gaming Services
    • Options: Services like Amazon Luna, GeForce Now, Shadow, or Xbox Cloud Gaming.
    • Setup:
      1. Subscription: Choose and subscribe to a cloud gaming service that offers MW3.
      2. App Installation: Install the service's application on your Steam Deck
      3. Game Access: Log into your account and access MW3 through the cloud service.
    • Pros:
      1. Play the game without requiring a high-end PC.
      2. Regular updates and maintenance by the cloud service provider.
    • Cons:
      1. Subscription fees.
      2. Requires a consistent and high-speed internet connection.
  3. Installing Windows on the Steam Deck
    • Overview: Installing Windows on your Steam Deck allows you to bypass the Linux compatibility issue.
    • Steps:
      • Backup: Ensure all important data is backed up.
      • Create a Windows Installer: Use a USB drive with the Windows installation media.
      • Boot from USB: Restart the Steam Deck and boot from the USB drive.
      • Install Windows: Follow the prompts to install Windows on your Steam Deck.
    • Pros:
      • Direct access to the Windows version of MW3.
      • Greater compatibility with other Windows-only games and applications.
    • Cons:
      • More complex setup process.
      • May void the warranty or cause other issues with the Steam Deck.


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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