Google Chrome's autoplay audio blocker has been messing up web games

  • Google Chrome's autoplay audio blocker has been messing up web games

Google Chrome's autoplay audio blocker has been messing up web games

But, they are no more in place for the Web Audio API that several game developers use.

Google has had to temporarily break one of Chrome's newest features because it was proving more troublesome than the annoying problem it was supposed to tackle. Yet it seems to have accidentally prevented web-based games that rely on the Web Audio API from playing sounds for their Chrome-using players. Google has recognized its error and has announced that it will be updating Chrome to temporarily remove the update that broke the games.

"The team here is working hard to improve things for users and developers, but in this case, we didn't do a good job of communicating the impact of the new autoplay policy to developers", Google product manager John Pallett writes in the Chromium bug tracker. He added that the change wouldn't stop Chrome from silencing most websites' autoplay videos and audio.

Content contained in HTML5's video and audio tags will still be silenced, though, limiting the impact of auto-playing audio on what Pallett says is "most media playback" around the Web (which was the original intent of the Chrome auto-play policy). But whether this loophole will end up being abused to autoplay video with sound and get developers to update their apps to avoid them being muted remains to be seen.

Google Fixes Issue That Broke Millions of Web-Based Games in Chrome

As Pallett noted, "We're doing this to give Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code". Google now plans on re-introducing the restrictions in Chrome 70, but the Chrome team is looking into other options as well. Then there's the large bulk of "abandoned" games whose developers may not even be aware that their work is in need of an update or may not have the inclination to make even trivial modifications.

The new policy, introduced in April, was created to "intelligently" block unwanted video from playing unless you had either white-listed the site or previously interacted with it. You just have to right click on your website tab and select "mute site" in order to never hear anything from that particular page again.

To be clear, the company hasn't completely removed the new autoplay rules that it introduced with Chrome 66.