Google Rolls Back Change That Broke Web-Based Game Audio In Chrome

The new functionality was meant to silence auto-playing audio and video in the web browser, but it inadvertently muted audio from many web games and other projects too, with no way to get it back. But the browser maker says it plans to reimplement the feature in October, a move that has failed to satisfy many Web-based developers. This pesky content is one of the main reasons many Internet users have installed adblockers in their web browsers. This further resulted in the company receiving numerous complaints regarding the new feature. "We've updated Chrome 66 to temporarily remove the auto-play policy for the Web", wrote Google Chrome Engineer Abdul Syed in a blog post, publishing a list of changes. John Pallet, Chrome's project manager said that "in this case, we didn't do a good job of communicating the impact of the new autoplay policy to developers".

The good news is that Google isn't throwing out the baby with the bath water: Pallett said the change "does not affect most media playback on the web" because the "autoplay policy will remain in effect for video and audio " content. One, who also commented on the issue on the Chromium page, pointed out that most work won't be update by October, if its ever updated at all. "You guys definitely have the power to break everyone's work, should you wish to exercise that power, but you do not have the power to make people add workarounds to code that they are not able to alter". He also advises Google to not enable the policy by default, rather allows a user to activate it by going into Chrome's settings.

Put simply, the autoplay changes are still in place for HTML5 video and audio (so autoplaying videos are still blocked), but not for the Web Audio API that most games use.

The autoplay blocking is an example of how browsers are getting more assertive on behalf of users faced with pushy websites.

Other developers have suggested methods for stopping auto-playing audio that would be less disruptive to legacy interactive content, such as automatically muting new tabs or warning the user and offering options when a page first attempts to play audio.

Vanessa Coleman

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