In mid-April, the Chrome team rolled out version 66 of the desktop browser and with it came a huge list welcome and anticipated changes. Along with Site Isolations trials, Symantec distrust and a slew of bug fixes, the most front-facing feature in version 66 was easily Chrome’s new autoplay policies for embedded media on websites.
While muting autoplay media is certainly a welcome change to many a user, the new policy had some unforeseen consequences for countless game developers. For smaller platforms especially, the Autoplay policy has broken HTML5-based web games by permanently muting audio unless the developers explicitly write in code to do otherwise.
The developer community has made their frustrations clear and the hiccup has found its way to the CRBug tracker and the folks at Chromium have taken notice. This week, an incremental update to Chrome 66 has reverted the Autoplay feature. Good news for game devs but the change is only temporary.
As pointed out by the Chrome team, developers have been given the tools and methods to modify their media to circumvent the Autoplay policy. Reverting Chrome will only be temporary as the feature will be added back somewhere around version 70 that will arrive in October.
Google Product Manager John Pallet shared via the bug report:
We’re doing this to give Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code. 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 using the Web Audio API.
This stay of execution grants a good deal of breathing room for game developers and the Chrome team alike but some game makers aren’t happy with the solution. Some feel that Google is restricting the spirit of a free and open web buy forcing their standards on the world’s most popular browser.
To learn more from both sides, you can read through the bug report here.
Regardless the outcome, for the time being we’ll just have to deal with the annoyance of Autoplay media while developers figure out the best solution.
source: CRBug via The Verge.