A recent update to Google Chrome had the unfortunate side effect of muting audio for a vast array of web-based games and interactive projects.
Developers have taken to Twitter to call Google out for the sudden and unprompted change, noting in some cases that their HTML-5 based projects are essentially dead in the water with audio forcibly muted.
While it’s unlikely that Google will let these changes remain in the face of such backlash, the fact that a major web browser has all at once muted audio for the many, many projects that fall outside of top websites that feature audio elements understandably has many developers concerned.
Developers like VVVVV and Super Hexagon creator Terry Cavanagh and Stephen’s Sausage Roll creator Stephen Lavelle are some of the people that have already noticed that their content has been affected by the change, while numerous other web developers and artists have spoken out against the ill effects of the new policy as well.
The issue itself looks to be rooted in a policy change that came with the most recent update to Google Chrome. Earlier this year, Google rolled out a Chrome update that allowed users to mute audio based on individual websites, aiming to counteract the minor annoyance of unwanted, auto-playing videos. The latest policy update takes that one step further by automatically blocking audio and video from being played on most websites, save for those on Google’s list of 1,000 or so sites where a high percentage of videos opt to play media with sound.
Chrome additionally doesn’t display any sort of notification to a user that the page they’re viewing has had its audio muted, something developers have also taken issue with in the wake of this change.
Ah fuuck sake. I had just in the last year started to begin to trust that I could reliably use audio in the browser (after years of reticence). So much for that...looks like the chrome update broke all of the audio in my html5 games as well. https://t.co/gT6n9pz0VT— Stephen Lavelle (@increpare) May 7, 2018