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Google breaks HTML5 games with latest Chrome update

Efforts to mute autoplay video ads have unexpectedly affected browser-based web games

Developers of browser games using HTML5 are experiencing a range of issues with their titles following a new update to Google Chrome.

As part of further efforts to discourage the use of ad blockers, Google has altered its policy on autoplay objects so that the audio is muted by default. According to a blog post, sound can still be autoplayed if the user has interacted with the site (i.e. clicked on something to indicate they are actively using that page), or does consumes media from it regularly.

However, the decision to mute audio automatically has reportedly played havoc with the plethora of browser games - or indeed anything powered by HTML5 - currently available.

Developers ranging from VVVVV creator Terry Cavanagh and Stephen's Sausage Roll dev Stephen Lavelle have complained about this development on Twitter, as have more developers in the comments beneath the original update post.

Former Kickstarter CTO Andy Baio attempted to bring these to the attention of ChromiumDev, the official Twitter account for the Chrome Developers team, but at the time of writing there has been no acknowledgement of the issue.

Baio also noted that many of Google's own projects remain unaffected, and that there doesn't even appear to be any notification or sign alerting the user that the page they're using has had its audio muted.

Popular indie games portal Itch.io notes that the 'click to play' option it introduced last year resolves this issue, but unfortunately this doesn't help any browser game developers that do not use the platform.

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