Chrome’s autoplay mute functionality interferes with online games

Posted 16 May 2018 14:41 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

Google has decided to temporarily disable the functionality that automatically mutes autoplay videos in Chrome because it also interferes with audio of web apps and online games. Since Chrome 66, the browser will turn off the sound of videos that automatically start to play.

The function should protect users against annoying videos on websites that automatically start to play with sound enabled. Unfortunately the auto-muting functionality has a side effect, developers complain that in some of their online games and web apps the functionality gives issues with audio playback.

The Chrome team is working hard to improve things for users and developers, as Google product manager John Pallett writes, “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.”

Therefore, the Chrome developers have decided to make temporarily changes on how Chrome mutes audio on autoplay videos. “We’re doing this to give Web Audio API developers (e.g. gaming, audio applications, some RTC features) more time to update their code,” Pallett adds. The muting of autoplay videos as intended should be fully functional again with the release of Chrome 70 which is scheduled for release in October this year.

Google has also published some recommendations for web developers to make sure their audio plays well with the auto-muting functionality.

Despite Google’s measures, some developers are still unhappy. One user writes, “Simply delaying the enacting of this policy doesn’t solve any of the major concerns that have been raised. these changes are not in the spirit of a free and open web, as Google controls the formula which decides which sites will be affected and which will not. The primary job of a web browser is to support web standards. As it stands, Chrome is changing itself to *not* support web standards across certain blurry and arbitrary lines.”


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