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In Blocking Autoplay Videos, Chrome Is Breaking Many Web-Based Games (arstechnica.com) 77

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: An update Google rolled out for its popular Chrome browser this weekend helps prevent those annoying auto-playing video ads on many websites from disturbing your day with unwanted sound as well. But that update is causing consternation for many Web-based game developers who are finding that the change completely breaks the audio in their online work. The technical details behind the problem involve the way Chrome handles WebAudio objects, which are now automatically paused when a webpage starts up, stymying auto-playing ads. To get around this, Web-based games now have to actively restart that pre-loaded audio object when the player makes an action to start the game, even if that audio wasn't autoplaying beforehand. "The standard doesn't require you to do this, so no one would have thought to do this before today," developer Andi McClure told Ars Technica. "With Chrome's new autoplay policies, developers shouldn't assume that audio can be played before a user gesture," Google told The Daily Dot in a statement. "With gaming in Chrome, this may affect Web Audio. We have shared details on what developers can do to address this, and the design for the policy was published last year."
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In Blocking Autoplay Videos, Chrome Is Breaking Many Web-Based Games

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  • by xfade551 ( 2627499 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2018 @04:54PM (#56583748)
    ...Nothing of value was lost.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fuck web based "games'. I'm supposed to be subjected to unwanted videos because some retard wants to play "games"? Fuck that shit.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2018 @05:09PM (#56583888) Homepage

    Isn't this a solved problem at this point? It seems like all the Chrome users are suddenly rediscovering all the features that have been in Firefox for decades.

    Back around Y2K, you got this feature by installing the Flashblock extension. I stopped installing it when Firefox made it so that you had to click to start any plug-in. Now it is available as "media.autoplay.enabled" setting in about:config. I guess I am in shock that anybody *doesn't* set their computer this way. I think there is even an option in Firefox to say "it's okay to let *this* site autoplay stuff."

    • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2018 @05:25PM (#56583992) Homepage

      Mozilla owns neither an ad network nor a massive video site.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A few things are wrong with your post (I like how it got a 5).

      1. Browser extensions are not a browser (duh?)
      2. You've been able to disable flash for a lot longer than 15 years in any browser I can think of, this article is about DEFAULTS, not available options.
      3. Try telling your grandma to go to about:config, find the setting and toggle it. Point being browser's aren't just used by techies.

      Lastly, the browser game developer's having to maintain their code is a trivial price to pay for some site loading

  • AI (Score:5, Funny)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2018 @05:28PM (#56584016) Homepage Journal
    They should use AI technology to determine if the user wants the audio to start automatically or not. Can't AI do that?
    • Automated systems can make a pretty darn good guess whether a particular user wants to play a particular piece of media, and Google's comments seem to indicate they are headed in that direction.

      Another person who posted mentioned the current behavior causes problems for online courses created with a tool called Captivate. If you are taking online courses, from an institution that uses Captivate, it's not hard for Chrome to notice "this week, this guy has loaded fourteen other Captivate pages, and every time

    • by reg ( 5428 )

      chrome://media-engagement/

    • They should use AI technology to determine if the user wants the audio to start automatically or not. Can't AI do that?

      No, only poorly. And don't give them any ideas.

      Google has already added technology to track the collective user-interaction with a site, to authorize some feature automatically if it thinks you are interacting enough with the site. Once that goes out of experimental, everything will become non-deterministic, and full of security holes.

    • They should use AI technology to determine if the user wants the audio to start automatically or not. Can't AI do that?

      The did. They fed the users into the AI and the AI answered "no". So that's what they are programming into Chrome.

  • It's the modern day IE6, they can do whatever they want. Doesn't mean they should, or that they'll always be able to, but it seems likely they'll continue to do so until it starts to hurt their wallet. Or they lose interest in it.
    • It's the modern day IE6, they can do whatever they want. Doesn't mean they should, or that they'll always be able to, but it seems likely they'll continue to do so until it starts to hurt their wallet. Or they lose interest in it.

      In this case- blocking autoplay videos IS the right thing to do though.

        I suspect Google has learned the lesson from IE6 too. They know it is easy for a new browser to knock them off their perch if they misbehave too badly.

  • by TypoNAM ( 695420 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2018 @05:49PM (#56584138)

    It took Google Chrome doing this to have websites like Netflix fix their broken video player when you have autoplay disabled (in firefox my case).
    Vimeo is still broken though, even after countless bug reports to them over the years about it.

    Wonder when Google will fix YouTube where you have to press play twice in order for it to start playing a video with autoplay disabled.

  • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2018 @06:02PM (#56584210)

    They're in the process of disabling flash. In the version I'm running, Flash is technically supposed to ask to play, but Chrome doesn't actually display a prompt and treats it as if the plugin isn't present at all. You have to enable it for specific sites, which means you're doing an all-or-nothing approach.

    In my case specifically, I disabled the option "Use hardware acceleration when available" because it was a troubleshooting step in the past (Youtube was somehow misbehaving under Chrome.) The result is some Flash/WebGL games are unplayable because they don't show critical images, such as the phasing bloons that don't show in Bloons Super Monkey 2 [kongregate.com].

    Basically, those playing web games need to use Internet Explorer (version 8/9 that still supports plugins), Pale Moon, or Vivaldi. Sticking with Chrome/Firefox/Edge means those web games will die.

  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2018 @06:04PM (#56584224) Homepage Journal

    Developers should be used to changing rules, as annoying as they are. Maybe Google could have found another way, but if it was too easy to work around then the ads would do so?

    In this case the issue appears to stem from preloading behaviour. Maybe the alternative here is if Chrome asked for permission, on behalf of the site, just like the location API does?

    The main solution here seems to be to delay resource loading until there is user interaction.

    • The main solution here seems to be to delay resource loading until there is user interaction.

      Define "user interaction". Clicking? Scrolling? Touching? What? And then, once your user 'interacts', now the website is suddenly free to play/popup/advertise/ whatever?

      No, the correct solution was to, (a) forsee exactly where all this HTML5+javascript+canvas+openGL was going, which was OBVIOUSLY to lead to a world that was WORSE than flash, and (b) not change the supposedly standard APIs on people.

  • Hey everybody. I make stuff (educational games mostly) and put it on the Internet and I don't charge anything for that stuff. I don't run ads on my websites. I use HTML5 to make my games, because I believe in open web standards, and I want my games to keep working forever.
    Two of my games broke.
    I can't add the click callback fix, because both games don't even use the mouse (keyboard only), and load with the game in a centered div. Neither game is fixable, unless I tell my users to click, for no reaso
    • I'm glad somebody here gets it.

    • Neither game is fixable, unless I tell my users to click, for no reason,
      other than Google is stupid. I don't like ads either, but I think everybody should follow the rules.

      I despise google and avoid them wherever possible. But the fault here isn't googles it is every fucking site that abuses auto play, the feature is fundamentally broken due to it being in the control of the website instead of the user and every arsehole website, news site and ad company abuses it by autoplaying content. this isn't just a problem with ads. yes you are an unfortunate victim, but the standard is broken and heavily abused. What needs happening here is modification of the standard.

    • Load the page with an autofocused <button> element, and instruct users to press the Enter key. Chrome should be treating activations of that button as user gestures.

  • Talk about a sense of entitlement... people discover autoplay and rely on it. *cough*game programmers*cough* My preference is to have ALL dynamic browser objects disabled by default. Allow users to enable it. I'm with Tim Berners-Lee in the belief that "The Web" is fundamentally broken and this is just another example of it.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.

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