Roblox says it hasn’t blocked Linux or Steam Deck, but it’s reportedly toast there

An illustration of the Roblox logo.
Image: The Verge

Bad news for Roblox fans on Linux — the workarounds are dead. GamingOnLinux reports that the latest version of Roblox “forcefully blocks it from working with Wine,” throwing a “Wine is not supported” error message even when Roblox-specific tools like Vinegar and Grapejuice are added. Wine is the compatibility layer that lets many Windows games run on Linux systems.

But Roblox claims it’s not personal. “Confirming there has been no change on our end to specifically block Linux or Steam Deck since Roblox never supported Linux or Steam Deck officially,” spokesperson Samantha Spielman tells The Verge.

“We’re constantly improving our Hyperion anti-cheat functionality, so it’s possible whatever the author was doing was no longer compatible with our anti-cheat systems,” Spielman added.

I don’t know enough about Roblox workarounds to tell if the company’s splitting hairs, but it’s quite possible that Roblox simply cut off unofficial support for Wine because it felt it’d been abused.

In a Roblox developer forum, a staffer explained the company had actually unofficially supported Wine for some time — but that the unofficial support wouldn’t last, because some people were using it to reverse engineer the company’s Hyperion anti-cheat and develop Roblox hacks.

“We see it being used for cheating, which is heartbreaking, to be honest, as this was a personal effort of our developers under the assumption that folks out there would understand and not misuse it,” wrote Bitdancer, according to GamingOnLinux.

“Unfortunately, we have exhausted our options,” they replied, when a user asked whether Linux support was likely to last much longer.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney once said he wouldn’t update Fortnite to run on the Steam Deck for the same reason, because of the “threat model to a game of Fortnite’s size” from custom Linux kernels that could defeat anti-cheat. More recently, he told me the Steam Deck would need “tens of millions of users” to justify it.

No one has been willing to tell me why existing anti-cheat software like Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye, both of which are supported on the Steam Deck and used in games there, aren’t good enough by themselves. But many major games have adopted custom anti-cheat systems now that cheaters are getting more sophisticated.