An update Google applied to its Chrome browser, intended to silence annoying autoplay adverts, has broken the audio in countless browser-based games.
The problem has been compounded by the fact that, although Google trailed the audio autoplay policy change in September 2017, it made no mention of the implications for browser-based games, instead editing them later – as web game developer mcc pointed out on Twitter.
The new rules mean that users now have to make a gesture to restart audio objects when they launch a game. But many developers have weighed in to point out that not everybody has the time or resources to rewrite their browser-based games. In Google’s policy update comments thread, for example, Matthew Gatland said: “I am sad that this change breaks existing websites. I thought web standards were a promise to stop doing this. Many websites will never be updated for this change. Many creators have moved on to other projects and don’t have time. Some creators have passed away and their websites will never be updated again. I think your goals could be achieved in a way that is more respectful of the existing web.”
No doubt Google and the development community will work towards a solution, and there are, of course, plenty of browsers other than Chrome out there. But it’s a shame that, in laudably attempting to address the problem of intrusive ads, Google has inadvertently broken hundreds of web games, alienating both users and its developer community.