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

17 May 2018, 06:30 | Kevin Scott

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Google has partially rolled back a change made in Chrome 66 that prevented audio from playing in some web-based games.

It will also be worth noting that the tech giant was unsuccessful in impressing the developers whose projects were affected by these changes.

Google says the policy will once again be applied to the Web Audio API in October, and that developers have until that point to update the code in their web-based games and apps according to Google's developer guidelines.

The original muting of the nuisance videos within Chrome was created to remove one of the annoyances that might have pushed users to install adblocking or other software, something Google wants to avoid as advertising is the primary source of the company's revenue. This further resulted in the company receiving numerous complaints regarding the new feature.

With the release of Chrome 66 in April, Google clamped down on lots of websites that tried to play video and audio automatically, but the browser doesn't always block autoplay.

The feature is reportedly barring apps and interactive art from playing audio notifications and other elements.

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"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", John Pallett wrote in a developer forum on the bug.

Meanwhile, the implementation delay is created to give "Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code".

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.

Pallett urged developers to prepare for Chrome 70 by following its autoplay instructions for the Web Audio API. Unfortunately, it has been blocking more than anyone bargained for.

Other comments call for a response from the Chrome development team, particularly with regard to suggestions for modifying the policy to indicate when audio is being disabled, and to enable users to easily switch it back on, either temporarily or permanently.



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