Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Technology | By Christopher Mann

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 has partially rolled back an update to its popular Chrome web browser, after discovering that changes introduced to block auto-playing media were wreaking havoc on the browser-based gaming scene.

The Chrome team said that the changes will not impact the web browser's new feature of silencing Internet videos and audio that have an autoplay feature.

However, the unintended outcome of silencing web games has prompted Google to temporarily remove the autoplay policy for the Web Audio API, which is used by many web games.

Google has made it clear that this is a temporary change and that it has been made to give developers time to change their code.

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Google is rolling back a recent Chrome browser update that inadvertently broke the audio in many HTML5-based Web games. 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.

The most recent update, Chrome 66, pauses audio on browser media objects, meant to silence irritating adverts.

Google product manager John Pallett yesterday responded to a long list of complaints from frustrated web game developers on a Chromium bug report page.

Google's Chrome team recently said that it has updated the mobile web browser to temporarily put on hold the autoplay policy for the apps, games, and RTC features using the Web Audio API.

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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.

"We are still exploring options to enable great audio experiences for users, and we will post more detailed thoughts on that topic here later", Pallett added. As others have pointed out, this is a non-trivial user interface challenge with a lot of nuances.

While muting autoplay media is certainly a welcome change to many a user, the new policy had some unseen consequences for countless game developers. Unless web developers scramble to use the Web Audio API instead of those tags, Chrome should continue to save your ears from unwanted and potentially obnoxious noises while you browse.

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