Chrome Kills Plugin For Unity Games (But You Can Turn It Back On... For Now)

Unity promotes itself as the multi-platform middleware of choice for game developers, however, it has a few concerns on its hands. The first relates to iOS and is a bit beyond the scope of this article; it's sufficient to say the company is working hard to meet the requirements of Apple. The second revolves around Unity's web plugin, which until recently worked fine in Chrome but as of the browser's most recent update, is disabled by default.

Not that Google didn't give everyone fair warning: in late 2013, it announced the decision to drop the Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI) from Chrome, a framework designed a rather long time ago to extend the abilities of browsers beyond displaying simple web pages. Of course, with the march of JavaScript, HTML5, CSS and WebGL, among many other technologies, NPAPI isn't really needed any more... unless you want to run Unity in your browser.

Unity's web plugin relies on NPAPI to work, so when Google killed it in Chrome, any games using the plugin stopped working. For now, it can be turned back on using Chrome's experimental settings, but come September, users will have to switch to an alternative such as Internet Explorer or Firefox to enjoy Unity-created apps online.

Why get rid of NPAPI? As Google's Justin Schuh explains, it's a rickety system responsible for a majority of "hangs, crashes, security incidents, and code complexity", at least as far as Chrome is concerned. According to Google's numbers from last year, Unity is the second-most popular NPAPI-based plugin, weighing at 9.1 per cent. Silverlight was number one, likely because of Netflix.

So, how has Unity responded? The editor has a WebGL export function, but the response from developers regarding its stability, performance and size isn't positive. I'm sure Unity will iron out the problems in time, but that's of little comfort to games and studios affected now.

Google Chrome Browser Update Disables Unity Plugin [RPS]


Comments

    Never had any problem running unity games? It just asks permission to run and it is all good

      That's most likely because the NPAPI support was removed in version 42 which only came out two days ago, unless you had the workaround already in place.

    I'm glad, I really don't like the idea of these plugins. Never have either. I'd rather take a temporary performance hit today for a more open and compatible future.

    the moment i opened my bookmarks on chrome since the last update was the moment i went back to firefox...

    The problem with is that it causes a lot more issues. So many unity games are now essentially broken and useless and unless you can get a hold of the developer to correct them they will need to be trashed.

    Unity has a really poor WebGL system right now that is rigged with bugs. It would have been fine if Google had given a preemptive warning instead of overnight millions of browsers are now unable to use Unity Web Player. The implications on the arcade industry is huge because of this.

      It would have been fine if Google had given a preemptive warning instead of overnight millions of browsers are now unable to use Unity Web Player

      They did actually. They've been planning this for over a year. Kotaku actually links to the blog post they posted in September of 2013 that they were planning on doing this, and they had a definite date since last November.

    Also of note, this will disable Silverlight. I wonder how Stan and Netflix will handle this (I know Netflix is already on the way to HTML5 video, Stan on the other hand is stuck in the 1990's)....

    You can turn the new bookmarks off on the same page you can turn unity back on.

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