Can you play Modern Warfare 2 on Steam Deck?

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Can you play Modern Warfare 2 on Steam Deck?
Credit: Activision

As the most anticipated title of the year, CoD: MW2, is out now, many people are wondering if they can play Modern Warfare 2 on Steam Deck.

And the fact that the Call of Duty series is returning to Steam with Modern Warfare 2 for the first time in years is lifting the hopes of many Steam Deck owners.

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If you are one of those who are wondering whether you can play Modern Warfare 2 on Steam Deck, we have news for you.

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Can you play Modern Warfare 2 on Steam Deck?

Much to the disappointment of Steam Deck owners, Modern Warfare 2 is officially not compatible with Steam Deck. The game’s Ricochet anti-cheat system is the reason for this incompatibility.

Ricochet is a kernel-based anti-cheat system developed for PC. Valve’s Steam Deck runs on Steam OS, which is a Linux-based operating system. Since the configuration of Linux and PC kernels are different, Ricochet doesn't work with Steam OS, and as a result, Modern Warfare 2 isn't compatible with Steam Deck.

Although the Steam Deck cannot play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 straight out of the box, there are some workarounds to achieve this feat. Keep reading!

How to play Modern Warfare 2 on Steam Deck

As we mentioned above, for the game to run you need to have the PC-developed kernel driver for the anti-cheat. This can be achieved by installing Windows onto your Steam Deck. But we should warn you that it is a fairly complicated process.

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Here is a tutorial video that will help you install Windows onto your Steam Deck.

Since SteamOS doesn’t officially support dual-booting, the only way to install Windows is to make it the primary (and only) OS. However, there are community solutions that allow you to install Windows alongside Steam OS by enabling a third-party bootloader - which means more tedious tinkering.

If you are inclined to experiment with this, here is another tutorial video that will help you set up a dual-boot setup.

Best Modern Warfare 2 settings for Steam deck

Since Modern Warfare 2 isn't officially supported by Steam Deck, the game isn't optimized for it. So, it is up to you to tweak the graphics settings to make sure you are getting high FPS without compromising on graphical quality.

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The following are the best settings Modern Warfare 2 graphics that can help you get the most out of your game:

Display

  • Display Mode: Fullscreen Borderless
  • Display Monitor: Elgato Custom
  • Display Adapter: AMD Custom GPU
  • Screen Refresh Rate: Auto
  • Resolution: 800p
  • Aspect Ratio: Auto
  • V-Sync: Off

Quality

  • Quality Preset: Custom
  • Render Resolution: - Default
  • Upscaling/Sharpening: AMD FSR 1.0
  • Anti-Aliasing: FILMIC SMAA 2X
  • Video Memory Scale: 85
  • Details and Textures: Set everything to minimum
  • Shadow and Lighting: Set everything to minimum

With these Modern Warfare 2 graphics settings, you should be able to get the game running at 60fps fairly consistently. It strikes a perfect balance between smooth gameplay and impressive image quality/graphics.