Helldivers 2 anti-cheat is a nightmare for Steam Deck players

The anti-cheat system used in Helldivers 2 doesn't play nicely with the Valve handheld, and a workaround without issues is yet to be found.

Two soldiers in Helldivers 2 hugging one another against a flaming background, on a Steam Deck

Problems stemming from anti-cheat compatibility have plagued the Steam Deck since its launch and continue to do so now, despite improvements with some systems, such as Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC). Sadly, Helldivers 2 serves as an example that there’s still work to be done before anti-cheat issues disappear on Valve’s handheld gaming device for good.

Prior to its launch, Helldivers 2 looked practically primed to join the ranks of the best Steam Deck games. However, whatever potential it had as a Steam Deck mainstay will seemingly never be realized to the fullest, all thanks to its anti-cheat system.

Helldivers 2 uses nProtect GameGuard as its anti-cheat, a rootkit system that has left other games, such as PUBG: Battlegrounds, incapable of running on Steam Deck. And, like clockwork, it’s causing similar problems with the co-op shooter.

Helldivers 2 is not compatible with Steam Deck. Neither default Proton or GE 8-30 work, most likely due to NProtect
byu/BaronYC inSteamDeck

As demonstrated above by Reddit user BaronYC, Helldivers 2 simply won’t run on Steam Deck. Even applying different versions of Proton fails to resolve the issue, with commenters such as Express-Fan9722 sharing their experiences of encountering error messages stemming from nProtect GameGuard.

For those who simply must play Helldivers 2 on Steam Deck, though, there does appear to be a workaround of sorts, as detailed by MRHarutyun. However, this isn’t exactly an ideal experience, with its finicky nature compounded by potential issues with gamepad responsiveness.

It’s unclear whether Helldivers 2 Steam Deck compatibility can be fixed, or if it will suffer the same fate as the likes of PUBG: Battlegrounds: perfectly capable of running on the device but held back by anti-cheat. However, I wouldn’t hold out hope in this case.

Thankfully, the Helldivers 2 system requirements aren’t particularly demanding, so getting the game running on an older rig shouldn’t prove too much trouble. Should you have a PC capable of running the game, don’t forget there’s always the option to stream to your Steam Deck.