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

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.

It has partially rolled back Chrome’s recent policy of blocking videos that autoplay with sound, because the web browser was unintentionally preventing some web games from working properly.

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Videos that autoplay with sound are one of the most annoying things on the web, and and Chrome started cracking down on them in April. Unfortunately, it has been blocking more than anyone bargained for.

“We’ve updated Chrome 66 to temporarily remove the autoplay policy for the Web Audio API. This change does not affect most media playback on the web, as the autoplay policy will remain in effect for <video> and <audio>,” wrote Google Chrome product manager John Pallett this week, responding to dozens of complaints from developers.

“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.”

The policy will be re-applied in full when Chrome 70 comes out in October, and in the meantime, Pallett says developers should update their code based on Google’s recommendations, which you’ll find here.

“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.

Have you come across any such unintended consequences on Chrome? Share your thoughts @TrustedReviews.

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