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Google rethinks Chrome update after it breaks countless HTML5 games

Developers have until October to alter their code before Google fully reinstates update

Google has temporarily rolled back an update to the Chrome browser which effectively broke countless HTML5 games.

The beta update was introduced earlier in March in order to discourage ad block usage by altering its policy on autoplay objects so that the audio is muted by default.

However, this small change reportedly wreaked havoc for developers of HTML5 games, causing Google to eventually rethink the update.

In an effort to resolve the issue, Google has now updated Chrome 66 to temporarily remove the autoplay policy for the Web Audio API.

"We're doing this to give Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code," said a Google spokesperson in response to a support thread.

"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 Google has implemented this change, it is only temporary and developers who have not devised fixes for their work by October will find themselves in the same situation as before.

The news was met largely with negative responses from developers who criticised Google for offering only half-solutions.

"I appreciate the revert, but this only provides some extra time until you do exactly the same thing, with largely the same consequences," said one developer.

Creators who are unable to update their existing games by October "still face the effective cultural erasure of those works" said Getting Over It developer Bennett Foddy.

"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," he added. "Nobody has that power."

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Ivy Taylor avatar

Ivy Taylor


Ivy joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.