Classic HTML5 games like QWOP no longer have sound in Chrome, because of a new feature that blocks auto-playing video.
Chrome now only allows audio when users make some kind of deliberate choice to enable it, and most classic web games weren’t designed with this in mind. Here’s Kyle Orland, writing for Ars Technica:
Changing an existing HTML5 game to work under the new browser isn’t a huge headache for most game developers, provided they still have access to their original code and the servers hosting it. Legacy titles that have been abandoned by their creators and games that can’t be updated, though, will be permanently muted in Chrome, effectively breaking them forever (or until Google comes up with a less disruptive way of automatically muting autoplay videos). Some developers may never even realize that their older work no longer functions on a modern browser.
So yeah, developers can update their games to get the sound working again. This shouldn’t be necessary for games that were built using open standards, but Google is the dominant player in the browser market and that means they can force developers to do all kinds of things—just like Microsoft did with Internet Explorer back in the 90s.
But here’s what blows my mind: Apple’s Safari started blocking auto-playing videos back in September, and that browser doesn’t have these problems. Safari doesn’t block sound in browser games like QWOP, and in my tests also mutes autoplaying videos more consistently than Chrome. How did Apple get this so right, and how is Google getting it so wrong?