Chrome 66 Audio-Blocking Feature Also Blocks Web Games

Based on recent reports, the Chrome 66 feature which disables audio on auto-playing videos may turn out to be as much of a bug as it is a feature for some users and developers. That's because, in some cases, the feature unintentionally blocks audio playback of HTML 5 web games, as well. On its own, that wouldn't really present much of a problem. However, the blocking feature is turned on by default and there's no way to turn the audio on for a game unless users turn it off. That means that developers who create web-based gaming experiences are effectively losing at least some of their audiences simply because those users don't want to deal with audio from videos that play automatically. Perhaps worse, Leaf Corcoran, founder of the popular Itch.io web platform, says that players who visit the site don't often realize what exactly is happening. Instead, Corcoran says that players sometimes think the games are broken or just poorly made.

For now, Itch.io at least has a workaround for the problem and is working with developers to negate the issue entirely. Users can navigate to their own settings on the site and click a box to have HTML5 game embeds run on a click. That bypasses the new Chrome feature since the games aren't automatically loading simultaneously with the page. Meanwhile, developers can optionally click a similar box in their own settings for games and there's a new option to have all new games enabled with that by default. That, of course, doesn't solve the problem entirely since some game developers depend on the games running alongside the page load to enhance the gaming experience.

As of this writing, it doesn't appear as though Google will be doing anything on its end to address the problem. Instead, the search giant is has released statements to the effect that it is counting on developers to adjust their games and experiences to fall in line with Chrome's new feature. That's not really unusual since following browser optimizations and best practices are a big part of any web development. But it may mean that user input is required from here on out to start games and other experiences built for the web - at least where any audio is included as part of those.

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