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Google Rolls Back Chrome Browser Update That Broke Web Games And Apps

16 May 2018

Google has tweaked a new autoplay policy in Chrome 66 that was aimed at silencing most unwanted noisy video ads but also broke sound in a bunch of web games.

Chrome begins with a list of more than a thousand sites where Google found that the browser's users typically played audio or video with sound. While that was a welcome goal, the update also had some unintended consequences for fans of web-based games. He added that the change wouldn't stop Chrome from silencing most websites' autoplay videos and audio.

While this means that the web games affected by last week's update should no longer see their audio forcibly and automatically muted, Google notes that the rollback is only a temporary measure and that it plans to re-introduce the policy change in the Chrome 70 update this October.

In a post on the Chromium developer forums, Product Manager John Pallett admits that Google "didn't do a good job of communicating the impact of the new autoplay policy to developers using the Web Audio API". This is because their click-to-play approach generally does not resume a Javascript audio interface - something most games never needed to do until Chrome made a decision to press the mute button. Google now plans on re-introducing the restrictions in Chrome 70, but the Chrome team is looking into other options as well.

We're doing this to give Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code.

Still, the auto-muting update still appliesto audio and video HTML tags.

This is, apparently, reasonably easy to do; however, some users have complained that, even with several months to act, not every game, art project, or whatever else will be updated. However, the more you use Chrome, the better the browser becomes at understanding your personal do's and don't's, and will make adjustments accordingly.

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.

Google offered no timeframe on when it might again enable the audio blocking capability of Chrome.

The policy will be re-applied to the Web Audio API in the Chrome 70 release this October.

Google Rolls Back Chrome Browser Update That Broke Web Games And Apps