Changes to Google Chrome

Apr 19, 2015 | 1 Votes by Adeaphon 9 rate Your vote
Google have made a change to their browser that means you may not be able to play your favorite games. Read on for more information on this slightly controversial decision. WWGDB - Changes to Google Chrome

What is Happening

The new update to the Chrome internet browser run by Google went live at the start of April 2015, and it has caused a bit of a controversy, and the final update that happens in September 2015 may well have an affect on all of us that play games on our browsers. In a nutshell, you will not be able to play certain games on Chrome unless the developers change how they run.

While the details are a little complicated, we will try to make is as simple as we can, as we, and many of you are not programmers. The main thing that they are doing is stopping a part of the browser called NPAPI, this is a part of the browser called Plug In that lets some games and other programs use the browser to do stuff. I am sure many of you have seen a little yellow box in the top of chrome, that's says Plug In Blocked, it looks a bit like the image below.

Plug In Blocked

Normally you can then choose to let Chrome accept it and then carry on, or you can say no to it and not let it switch on. This normally applies to games and things that ask to use your browser like videos on Facebook. Because of the change that Google made you will be seeing more of these yellow boxes and blocked pop ups. Now, blocking pop ups is not always a bad thing, it can stop viruses and nasty programs from getting in but it can also stop your games. So you will need to take this extra step to then play your game.

However, it does not stop there. In September 2015 Google will completely remove NPAPI, which means that the games will not run at all on this browser. Now you may be thinking that it is just a few games, but there are more things that use plug ins, and that list is :

Google Earth
Java *
Google Talk
Facebook Video

* Java has already been stopped so this is nothing new, it was still being manually added.

How it Affects Gamers/Games

That means that any game using any of the above programs will stop working, and if you wish to play them you will have to use a different browser, or the developers themselves will have to make changes and stop using the NPAPI system.

There are new technologies around that some developers are using to make new games, and a lot of the older programs still work in the short term. Some companies have already said that they are making changes so that they can still use Chrome and they are actively working with Google on these changes.

Other companies are saying that they don’t want to or can’t make the changes needed, and this means not running on Chrome anymore. For us users it really just means using another browser like Internet Explorer or Firefox. If you already use one of these then you don’t need to make any changes and you can just carry on as normal.

Sometimes it Sucks

For the next 4 months or so you will still be able to keep playing and you can manually control which plug ins work on your browser, for tips on how to do that you can visit this Chrome Pop Ups Help List and follow the guides there if you need any further help.

Why Chrome have Done it

NPAPI is 20 years old, in the modern age thats quite a long time for a program or item to still be going in its original form. For a more detailed guide on what NPAPI is you can take a look at the Wikipedia Page for more information. Because it is so old there are concerns regarding its security, sometimes viruses and such can be put in your computer, so always be sure that you know what you are allowing and that you have up to date Anti Virus software too.

Google have also stated that the programs that use this old plug in are also unstable, and that they have caused a lot of crashes for players and users trying to play or watch videos. Also as technology has improved using an older system is making things too complicated to balance between the older and the newer programs.

Alongside the age of the NPAPI Google have also stated that a low percentage of its users are activating or using anything that uses this plug in. They have stated that during the last few months the number of people using these programs has dropped in some cases to less than 1% of total Chrome users.

The Result

Taking all this into account, their idea of stopping the use of NPAPI sounds reasonable and you can see their point. However, if you take a look at a lot of the feedback many people are upset and angry that they are going to have to make a change. The Chrome browser has a lot of advantages and many people like using it. If you like something you don’t want to have to stop using it.

Angry People

But more than that, this decisions has an effect across the globe. Google is everywhere and many companies create games or programs that they want to be able to market and be played all over the world. Suddenly games that have been on Chrome, or in the Chrome Web Store are not able to be played, and as of April you will not see any NPAPI based apps or games in the Chrome Web Store so some things that you may have used or found good for you are not there.

And this is where the controversy lies, that Google by making this decision are affecting millions of people all over the world, and hundreds, if not thousands of companies that created products, apps or games that are released globally. That game that we like playing on Unity won’t be there anymore, and the decision is yours to swap to a different browser for the game, or even permanently. But personally, I like using Chrome, both professionally and personally and I don’t really want to swap, or load a new browser just for a game.

Google made this public in September 2013, and so there has been time to adjust and make changes, and this month has seen one of the biggest changes, but there are more coming. To see when things are happening you can look at the Timetable for Disabling NPAPI.

Whatever your feelings on these changes, they are happening and have already affected many of us, even if it is just clicking an extra button or 2. But soon many games will just not be around for us to play on Chrome, and that is a little sad. On the other side there are new technologies and applications that will fit, and in some cases we will never see a change. In some ways it is sad to see something that stayed active for so long to go, but for some this loss is a major headache. No matter how it all plays out, in the end we can still play the games, I am just hoping that many of them will be available on Chrome in the future.

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