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Google Chrome team rolls back the update that muted many web games


Automating muting for Web Audio has been delayed until Chrome 70 in October. With the release of Chrome 66 last month, the browser began automatically muting sound on videos by default. The only problem is that this tweak silenced a number of web games and art projects, which weren't built for the new feature. Now the Chrome team has rolled out a new v66 (66.0.3359.181 on all desktop platforms) that undoes the change as it applies to the Web Audio API specifically -- but not for the The reprieve is temporary, however, as it's planning to re-apply the feature in Chrome 70 which is scheduled for release in October. According to manager John Pallett: "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." While the move should restore sound to affected sites for now, there are still unhappy developers out there. As one of them noted, "Unfortunately, the great majority of existing work will not be updated by October, or ever, and so we still face the effective cultural erasure of those works in October." Ayyy death comes a few updates later! Chrome is temporarily reverting the autoplay block for Web Audio with Chrome 66. Original comment can be found in the crbug:

Google Chrome no longer breaks Web games, but the fix won’t last


Many developers aren't satisfied with new October deadline to update code. Google is rolling back a recent Chrome browser update that inadvertently broke the audio in many HTML5-based Web games. But the browser maker says it plans to reimplement the feature in October, a move that has failed to satisfy many Web-based developers. Pallett says this temporary rollback is intended "to give Web Audio API developers... more time to update their code" before the auto-muting is brought back for Chrome version 70 in October. Affected developers will have until then to add a few lines to their code, thus re-enabling the auto-muted audio when a user first interacts with the page. That's not a very useful solution for developers who don't have access to the original code used to make legacy content, though, or those who can no longer update that code on the original servers hosting their work. Then there's the large bulk of "abandoned" games whose developers may not even be aware that their work is in need of an update or may not have the inclination to make even trivial modifications. "Unfortunately, the great majority of existing work will not be updated by October, or ever, and so we still face the effective cultural erasure of those works in October," QWOP developer Bennett Foddy writes in the Chromium thread. "You guys definitely have the power to break everyone's work, should you wish to exercise that power, but you do not have the power to make people add workarounds to code that they are not able to alter. " Other developers have suggested methods for stopping auto-playing audio that would be less disruptive to legacy interactive content, such as automatically muting new tabs or warning the user and offering options when a page first attempts to play audio. Pallett writes that Google is "still exploring options to enable great audio experiences for users" but notes that "this is a nontrivial user interface challenge with a lot of nuances. " That's not exactly an inspiring message for developers, especially when Google's default position for the moment seems to be simply reinstating the game-breaking changes in October. Having that kind of status quo failsafe in place could easily lessen the motivation to work out those "non-trivial user interface challenges" in a timely manner. "I believe Chrome could find a policy which accommodates developers while still protecting the principle users should explicitly authorize websites to play sound," developer Andi McClure writes in the Chromium thread. " The delay you have announced is a great opportunity to get things right this time."