April 16, 2015 | 75 comments

Google Chrome just killed the Unity Web Player

Chrome version 42 was just released and by default it disables support for the Unity Web Player, effectively killing it.

Chrome has a large market share overall, ranging from 25-50% depending on what source you're checking. On my own site, according to Google Analytics, nearly 70% of the users use Chrome.

It's not all lost, however. For the time being Unity Web Player support can be re-enabled by pasting this into your chrome address bar: 


This should take you directly to the correct Chrome setting. Click to enable it and restart your browser. If this doesn't work you may have to empty your browser cache as well. This isn't a dangerous thing to do, it just enables NPAPI-support as it was before you upgraded to Chrome version 42. Now the Unity Web Player should work just like before. This workaround will only work until September when support is removed for good:

This change in Chrome or its workaround is not targeting the Unity Web Player specifically, but all plugins which use the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI). The most popular of which include Java, Silverlight and the Unity Web Player. Their reasoning for doing this is as follow:

NPAPI’s 90s-era architecture has become a leading cause of hangs, crashes, security incidents, and code complexity.

Removing the NPAPI-support in Chrome is not something they suddenly decided to do, it has been a long time coming:

But it still sucks that they decided to pull the plug now. Building for WebGL in Unity is not ready yet which means the only option left are standalone players. Meaning Unity just lost the feature I enjoyed the most. Especially annoying is that of all is that this happens just before Ludum Dare 32. It doesn't actually change things all that much seeing as I was planning on supplying standalone builds either way, but it would be preferable if Google had at least waited a week.

The Unity Web Player has been integral to my website and I have spent a lot of time building functionality around it. I doubt most Chrome users will bother to manually enable NPAPI-support or switch browsers to use the Unity Web Player so I guess all my future projects will include a standalone build in addition to the Web Player build, and I will consider adding standalone builds to existing projects as well.

By September however I will drop the Web Player completely. By then the other browsers will probably have removed NPAPI-support as well. I only hope that WebGL in Unity is working a lot better by then.

UPDATE August 10, 2015: Unity has made an official blog post about this: 

In short they recommend WebGL as a substitute for the Web Player, but acknowledge that it doesn't have the same feature set and performance as the Web Player at the moment. The do however promise that one day it will be just as amazing as the Web Player. I will wait until September when the Web Player is officially unsupported to see just how it happens it praxis and then I will attempt to switch all my projects over to WebGL. If that doesn't work I may keep the Web Player, but put up a message for Chrome users. Or I may start supplying standalone versions instead.

UPDATE September 5, 2015: Google Chrome 45 is officially out now and Unity Web Player support is gone for good. Time to let it go, I guess. :'(

I'll leave the Web Players up for now and I'll probably even continue releasing Web Players for future projects seeing as WebGL is nowhere near ready in my opinion, but for anyone using Chrome I'll display a message telling you to switch to a different browser if you want to try any of my projects without downloading the source or the standalone. I'll make sure most projects get a standalone download.

Øyvind Strømsvik's picture

About Øyvind Strømsvik (TwiiK)

I've been passionate about games all my life and started dabbling in game development about 15 years ago with BlitzBasic,... read more but I quickly lost interest and began doing 3d modeling instead. 3d modeling remained a hobby and I picked up game development again around the release of Unity 2.0. My driving force behind wanting to get back into game development was my lost interest in commercial games as they started appealing to a group of gamers I was no longer in. Indie games were the only games that still looked interesting, but at the same time some of them looked like they would be just as fun to make as to actually play. And many of them were made by just one guy.

Tagged with: Unity, Website
TheQ.'s picture


A good strategy: spam web to use firefox and abandon chrome. Or switch to other like baidu spark, maelstrom, chromium, rockit, chromeplus.

Øyvind Strømsvik's picture

Øyvind Strømsvik

@TheQ.: You won't be able to convince the masses to change and NPAPI-support will be removed from other browsers as well because of the very same reasons Google is removing it from Chrome.

The better solution would be to spam Unity to make WebGL a viable alternative to the Web Player. A proper plugin-less way of playing games in your browser would be superior to the Web Player.

joshex's picture


@TheQ.: never use baidu, it's a virus. it'sll install the hao123.com redirect which is hard coded into your registry. killing it manually is not fun and it may eventually turn off your internet after frying your internet ports.

I already use firefox, I abandoned chrome when ti first came out, tried it and was like "this is shit = delete"

no idea why anyone has continued to use chrome. it started off with inabilities to load certain webcontent types, which meant a lot of typical pages people might go to were inaccessible to chrome. now they are just reinstating this limitation.

Firefox has never stopped winning. just stick with it.

Bob's picture


@TheQ.: Great plan. While we are at it, lets bring back shockwave flash. Lets go all the way and all use geocities, because progress away from shit technologies is something we should not allow.

JC's picture


@Bob: Moving away from outdated technologies before developing a replacement isn't ideal in any scenario. This should force the improvement of WebGL but there's no saying how long that will take and that doesn't help the people who make their livelihood from web-based games. There's also a whole discussion about backwards compatibility that we should be having and the possible negative consequences of making a decade's worth of content obsolete.

bro's picture


really?? i use baidu!

carlos's picture


I think that's a good news, npapi was good ten years ago, now is just around for, most of the times, barely maintained plugins; this might cause the enough push to improve the performance over webgl and JavaScript execution, for example when is ran from mobile devices.

Wes's picture


I don't think you'll see anyone else dropping NPAPI anytime soon. Only Firefox really supports it (its the Netscape Plugin API), and its basically all they have. Without it, they don't support Flash. Google basically bought the Flash source and rewrote it in their own plugin format so that they could keep it alive while killing this. Mozilla has been pretty vocal that they'd rather improve the web where it lacks than focus energy on writing/implementing a new plugin format (hence why they've been working on stuff like https://apps.facebook.com/deadtrigger_ii/ or https://softfamous.com/shumway/)

Jason's picture


This is old news. Unity3D supports WebGL builds that don't require NPAPI plugins. https://blogs.unity3d.com/2014/04/29/on-the-future-of-web-publishing-in-...

Øyvind Strømsvik's picture

Øyvind Strømsvik

@Jason: Yes, "supports". You're certainly able to build to it, but it's not usable for anything yet. I've tried it on a few occasions, but I haven't been able to get anything remotely playable out of it.

And how is it old news? It happened this week. Last week you could build for the Web Player and most people would be able to play your game. Now most people won't be able to play your game. That's pretty big. Even though the Web Player is a niche in itself and is mostly used for game jams, demos etc. it's still a big loss in my opinion. I thought it worked really well. WebGL does not, at least not yet.

Vincent's picture


@Jason: To bad it doesn't work, huh?

Chilton's picture


Unity 'supports' WebGL builds, but they're gigantic. 120Mb vs 17Mb in one of my own tests. Plus, it's slow as hell and ugly. They should've left support for this in there until a suitable replacement was ready.

Dumer's picture


@Chilton: The Chrome team has no real motive to keep the NPAPI alive, certainly not for what is probably a small subset (by percentage, not in absolute figures) of users who play with Web Player games. They decided to punt that group in favor of better security for the rest, which is a reasonable decision to make.

And as the article noted, the Chrome team had already made their plans clear more than a year back, so it's on Unity to make WebGL porting a viable option for developers.

Martian Games's picture

Martian Games

@Chilton: My experience as well. Frequently I hear "It should be easy: just press the export-for-WebGL button and like magic everything will work great!" To date, I have not heard from any developer who has had any success with it. WebGL drops performance in half, (or more if you use any kind of physics), Unity 5 compiler often crashes at the *last minute* of builds, only to give you a useless error "python failed to run". It took me a whole week just to find one script the compiler didn't like, by stripping the code base in half for every 1 hour build, until deduction finally revealed the problem. Unity-WebGL audio is utterly broken, it breaks and crackles, the doppler shifting for 3D garbles the sounds into incoherent soup, and looping is impossible because it wants to use good ol' MP3-Web format which wants to give us a 'convenient' little break of silence in between each loop.
Unity Web-Player, on the other hand, was my favorite feature on the internet. I never had problems with it. What worked in the Editor, worked in the WebPlayer just as expected. It was super fast, and for the first time 3D browser gaming really appeared to be moving toward the future. I strongly support browser gaming because it encourages social gaming, and a democratizing of game publishing. There are no pay-walls or greenlights we need to submit to. We can self promote, iterate the development process socially, and innovate and test ideas and quickly get feedback. Honestly I see WebGL as a significant leap backwards. It might be possible to run very simple games on it, but speaking for myself and the developers I know making large scale immersive 3D games, the consensus now is either we convince our players to use Firefox or download. Ironic how so much of the reasoning for enforcing WebGL is for 'security' as now developers are forced to encourage our players download .exe's. More .. "secure"?
Right now WebGL is just no option, and it is looking like it never can be. It just isn't possible to optimize interpreted Javascript enough to come anywhere close to compiled code.
What really gets me is Google planned for the shut-off date to exactly coincide with our LudumDare game competition. They fail to demonstrate respect for our art form, and our community. Goodbye Chrome.

arvydas's picture


for chrome is allso not realy good. well now chrome doesnt support openGL, silverlight... while other browsers support it pretty well. decent difference beetween firefox/opera and chrome, google should concider reenabling by defoult these things

hizoka's picture


well, then... also netflix uses silverlight. And web player was very useful, I will have to tell players to use firefox instead.

Unity needs to improve or fix their native web player or they will lose terrain...

Magallanes's picture


And the next question is : ThreeJS or BabylonJS?.

I tried Unity WebGL for a project (one of the requisites was to not to use a plugin) and while WebGL worked, its simply unusable for a real scenario.

I am trying BabylonJS and, hey i found that our old good friends Vector3 and Quaternion are still alive.

Momchil Georgiev's picture

Momchil Georgiev

Just open a new tab -> "chrome://flags" -> "Enable NPAPI" -> Enable, reboot Chrome and ta-daa

Vincent's picture


@Momchil Georgiev: Yea, except the players of your games are not going to do that. Which makes it pointless.

mory's picture


@Momchil Georgiev:

this future no more exist on chrome version 45

Peter Turner's picture

Peter Turner

At first there was potential, then trends, then a following, then independent tools, then arguments, cult separation, browser wars, innovation, respect, and availability.

Then Chrome decided to not be part of it.

It's a browser. I chose a different one instead to carry on the journey.

Ethan's picture


You can re-enable npani in Chrome and it will run Unity just fine. Just type this into the address bar - chrome://flags/#enable-npapi and click "Enable" on the very first entry. Restart Chrome and voila!

Pierre C.'s picture

Pierre C.

Even though I don't use Unity on a regular basis, I do feel the frustration for this community. It's even more unfortunate that the NPAPI Chrome "enable flag" fix is only a temporary until September 2015. Requesting users to switch browsers is probably not a very realistic solution, either.

What I don't understand though, is there hasn't been any sign (at least, it doesn't sound like...) Unity3D made any efforts to create a PPAPI plugin to circumvent this situation. Sure, there's probably good arguments as to "Why should they? The future of browsing the web should be plugin-less".

True, but if that was really so... why would Adobe invest time in both WebGL exports and SWF exports? Why would they keep on updating the Flash Player (as a PPAPI plugin) and their Adobe AIR runtime?

Admittedly, I don't know enough about the PPAPI format / architecture (maybe those plugins are only compatible with Chrome at the moment), but it sounds like a smart move for a company to continue building their own VM / runtime which they can control, fix and release at a much faster rate than waiting for all browser-makes to implement / be compatible with each other (not to mention the various open-source JS solutions that must often be included to resolve a lot of the various APIs fragmentation).

That being said, if Unity eventually does shrink the overall filesize of its exported WebGL / HTML5 games/apps and could run on every modern devices, that would be a big step in the right direction and a plugin-less web would be more attainable at that point.

Iren's picture


Fucking shit!

Sean LaMountain's picture

Sean LaMountain

thanks for the help haha. but whats going to happen to all those online games sites that have many games that require unity? are those games going to be playable when eventually like you said its going to be phased out entirely on all browsers?

Sean LaMountain's picture

Sean LaMountain

also how did you get to that settings page i looked for like 4 days to no avail. thankfully i found this lmao

Sean LaMountain's picture

Sean LaMountain

also how did you get to that settings page i looked for like 4 days to no avail. thankfully i found this lmao

Sean LaMountain's picture

Sean LaMountain

woah, i just got sent to a page of code when i sent that last comment

Øyvind Strømsvik's picture

Øyvind Strømsvik

@Sean LaMountain: "but whats going to happen to all those online games sites that have many games that require unity?"

I'm guessing they will have to upgrade to WebGL when the time comes. This has been known for a long time. And software come and go all the time. And like you say, it's only web games that rely on the Web Player. Nothing really serious is ever made with it, not to my knowledge at least. :p

"woah, i just got sent to a page of code when i sent that last comment"

A page of code on my website? Like a bug I guess? If you see this can you tell me what browser you were using? :) I haven't had the time to work much on the website lately. I see that your comment was posted twice, but there are no errors in my logs, sadly. I'll have a look at it.

Jon Connington's picture

Jon Connington

@Øyvind Strømsvik: Still fuck Chrome. I want my fucking Heroes of Dragon Age and I'm too lazy to open Firefox.

sean lamountain's picture

sean lamountain

@Øyvind Strømsvik: lmao i just found this because i googled my name but at the time i was using chrome

luan's picture


Jogo top!!!

Christy's picture


I've got an unhappy kid here who has been working his way through the Infinity Ring series of books, with games that you can unlock after you read each book. 6 of the 8 books are done, and now suddenly the whole system comes to a screeching halt.
This may have been known to developers, but it's certainly not something that the general public knew about. It's taken a couple of days for me to even get to the point of figuring out that the problem isn't my fault!

Chilton's picture


The worst part, IMO, is that it's completely unnecessary. No other browser company is doing this, and the alternative (WebGL) is not there in terms of performance. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

This was a really jerk move by Google.

JSampson's picture


There's a detailed video on how to enable NPAPI at cheesegames.net/videos.php

This is the only option for Chrome until WebGL is fully released.

Unity Lover's picture

Unity Lover

OMG how i can play 3D Web Games :'( ?

Jojojojojo's picture


todos a firefox , y ya . ni siquiera puedo jugar ni nada todo esta crasheado lel . chrome ya me valio mrd ya >w< (nadie me va a entender en una pagina de gringos pero bueno) :3

they just wanna push people to the app stores...'s picture

they just wanna push people to the app stores...

Doesnt this kill Java as well? As is Minecraft? Breaks all sorts of legacy educational webpages. Non profit pages will little java
They just wanna push people to the app stores, just greed. Are they really such security holes in those old plugins i would think they'd be found and fixed by now.
Micosoft has promised to support Silverlight until 2021, so i think IE will work. They whitelisted Unity , SL, Java and a few others... I found the browser a nice way to deploy software Securely. There is NO alternative to Silverlight. HTML 5 is not even close never will be. All Bullshit. App Stores , Censorship, long deployment cycles.. just internet regression.

Ronan Godoy's picture

Ronan Godoy

Its sucks though, GOOGLE sucks now too, now every gamer and YOUTUBER will switch to Firefox, google became an ass nowdays

Cookiez's picture


how sad ;w;
goodbye unity 0/

vatsav gundigara's picture

vatsav gundigara

@Cookiez: no dear ... goodbye chrome ;)

princess gaza's picture

princess gaza

thnx it works for me

zodi's picture


why do we keep getting pointed in the direction to use google chrome etc and not IE if chrome is now disabling its users from using all the functions, arghhhh, frustrating :( :(

unity3diy's picture


I think unity should luanch his own browser and i sure they will get great response.

motherfuck's picture


fuck you i chrahed my game hooligasgame.com fuck chrome fock off

NetworkLlama's picture


Every browser platform is deprecating old plugin environments. Those who bash Chrome while holding up Firefox as doing the right thing don't realize that Mozilla is deprecating NPAPI, just not quite as fast as Google. It's been scaling back support for NPAPI plugins, and recommends that developers move their plugins to native architectures. At some point in the future, it will be disabled by default, and then removed. Opera has already completely removed the NPAPI code.

Microsoft is doing the same thing. The new Edge browser debuting in Windows 10 will not support toolbars (at least not in the way that it did before) and most plugins that worked with IE will not work with Edge.

Ben's picture


Why so much biased criticism on Chrome?
Of course it's spying on you, etc. But as far as performance and functionalities are concerned, I guess it's not worse than any other browser. I find its developer tools far superior to Firefox's or Safari's. But it's all a personal opinion.
Now regarding the topic of this article, after having quite many problems with the Unity web player under OS X/Firefox, I would be glad if WebGL support were better. Who, in 2015, still wants to use bloated plugins that make your browser hang? When things go bad in Unity webplayer, I have to kill the process manually, and often, even after the Firefox process is gone!
As a beginner to Unity development, it's driving me mad.
The sooner Flash, Unity, Silverlight and all sucking plugins are gone, the better.

Other Ben's picture

Other Ben

@Ben I totally agree. I find that Chrome has unbeatable dev tools. If such smart guys as Chrome devs are dropping NPAPI support, they must have a good reason for it.

It still sucks that Unity users are left with no viable alternative yet (WebGL support is still "alpha"). Especially since I'm currently working on an Unity-based app :).

But it's up to Unity devs to do their job. The web player is indeed a bloated plugin, currently it's the only software (with bloated Java IDEs) that can make my Mac's fan get wild.

I have to kill it manually, it's a real hell to develop with. I hope we get a good alternative to it soon.

MissingNo's picture


@Ben Actually you say unity hangs the browser.
I played with a game on 'WebGL' and it hanged even way longer and more times

Øyvind Strømsvik's picture

Øyvind Strømsvik

Thanks for all the replies. It's fun reading them all. It's nearing September and the shutoff date for NPAPI which means the Web Player will stop working for good. I'll wait until that time and then try WebGL again. If I'm still not satisfied with it I'll just stick to standalone builds, at least for the time being.

Mike's picture


I'am using Chrome 44, there is not the option NPAPI............................

Christopher's picture


I wonder if there's an alternative to the Unity Wed Player that's the same thing but can work in browser....

mike's picture


what do i do if i go onto plugins but npapi isn't there

Øyvind Strømsvik's picture

Øyvind Strømsvik

@mike: Learn to read, first of all? If you have the latest version of Chrome then NPAPI is gone for good. There's no longer any way to enable it.

Use Firefox or another browser if you have to use the Unity Web Player or any other NPAPI dependent browser plugin.

OninonNinja42's picture


Use Opera .. They still support Web player.... but wrn that they are soon removing it! :(

TopazMarauder's picture


Keep this a secret, but... Google Ultron still has unity NPAPI.... NASA needs its internet games....

tcaud's picture


The reason they killed NPAPI is because they are gonna implement webasm soon. webasm functions pretty much like .Net, in that it uses a JIT to get full speed. They are gonna have different webasm drivers for different architectures... basically integrating the OS and browser like MS tried to do when NPAPI was a thing. WebGL is slow now because it's using Javascript, an emulator. When it runs on webasm it'll be as fast as Web Player is today.

Jack's picture


I believe that removing NPAPI based plug-ins, Google won't change for the better, It'll get worse, I believe that because Google is removing it, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera ECT will all get more users, all mostly Google Users, because the Google Users won't be able to use either Most, or ALL internet games such as Turbo DIsmount (turbodismount.com) so they will look for an alternative (Such as the Browser's I mentioned above) and begin to use that.. I've already begun to use Firefox to use Adventure Capitalist (Yes I also have Steam, but I like to import/export to help others) so I could only WISH/URGE Google to not remove NPAPI.

Anthony Caudill's picture

Anthony Caudill

@Jack: Jack NPAPI is being removed from EVERYTHING. All the good stuff is getting shafted in preparation for the Great Cloud Migration that will be completely pay-to-develop. The wheels are in motion to kill off the indie sector once and for all.

Matthias Brodthagen's picture

Matthias Brodthagen

@Anthony Caudill: I don't believe that the indie sector will die, but grow.
If the good stuff is shafted away or not depends on the devels Anthony. Unfortunatly the devels of onlinecontent and Plug-Ins relied their work on an OS-bound platform instead of working from the scratch crossover (best example: native Silverlight-, Flash- and Unitysupport for Linux). WebGL is present long enough to be considered a possible replacement for the Netscape API even before 2015.
And if the contentproviders accept the idea of OS-indipendent work your nightmare of "the Great Cloud Migration" will remain what it is in my eyes: a nightmare...

Spencer's picture


What really sucks is that I have a chromebook. This doesn't allow me to download windows files, or a bunch of other things. Now that they've disabled this, I can't even get on the Unity Web player :(

Anthony Caudill's picture

Anthony Caudill

@Spencer: You need to learn dual-booting. Boot to a decent Linux.

yousufalikhan 's picture


thank you

David Swinney's picture

David Swinney

I'm very interested in articles written about various issues related to moving to Unity 5 and WebGL.

We're in the process of making that move with Egowall and have written several articles about our experience. It has not been easy and we're not all the way there yet.

If you're interested, the articles are accessible from this page: http://blog.egowall.com/our-journey-to-webgl; we welcome any comments or feedback.


Lance's picture


All you techos fail to see, is that what I once could use on any browser, I no longer can.

But of course, the people that use it, come last.

Matthias Brodthagen's picture

Matthias Brodthagen

@Lance: Fair enough Lance.
Stupid question: Would you walk 50 miles to work or do you take your car? Considering that you will not see the things that you saw when you walked...

Michael Vr's picture

Michael Vr

Well, as i always bring you the news from from the future (and they
never ask people like me and you, (paid subscribers) before any new
mess up like this),
moving Unity over to WebGL has certainly been much larger mistake,
than leaving, and properly securing the UnityWebPlayer.

So, the FUTURE, my dear Unity co-sufferers, is THIS:
As the time will show: we will only witness a (colosal) return of
Unity Web Player, some 5-to-10 yrs later, with improved Npapi security.
Proving again, that: Unity ship is (as always) evolving as we go,
leaning to any side that wind blows more money to it's "shader" sails...
And they will never be able (or care) to (properly) answer any of such
individual problems.
My advice is:
In the next 5 years, do not switch to GL, nurture your project in x86_64
further, and wait for the return of humanity, good performance, and
Unity Web Player support, with properly fixed security for Npapi.
Also: not all browser providers will cut the support for it, which will
have the influence on this, as well, over the time, on Unity team, but,
meantime - we developers hate being udermined every few months,
and stuffed around like this, each time they bring new "better" solution,
that: does not work ok in the next 10 yrs time, each time.
Remember Microsoft ? The same. Are we seeing the pattern, already,
with the main cause (as always) - all they want is your: money.
The proof: switch right now to build for WebGL, and you will have at least
99 red exeptions, and stalled project, forcoding ok, and paying to Unity -
everything: right.
You will find for instance, that any parsing for WebGL you attempt now,
which has only pure dynamic typing method will stall your project like that.
They did not know about this ? Come on, gimme a break !
So, whatever will not be functioning on Unity ship, with all paid developers
onboard, you can be shure that one thing will be working, no matter what:
Unity's perfectly tuned, and maintained: money radar, always finding your
money perfectly correct.

John Lanz's picture

John Lanz

I don't know why unity got panic and almost all of the games on facebook got phased out. For me the only solution is to make it a plugin and install the web player on desktop. I'll give you an example look at roblox. It looks like you can play a game directly from chrome where as really you're playing the game from desktop, but of course you can't play roblox game directly from desktop you need to select the game from web.
My point is unity got panic and they didn't think the right solution until now. They stick to webgl though which is years away from web player.

John Lanz's picture

John Lanz

Unity is now back on facebook I think because of gameroom. With the latest release of unity 5.5 you can create and upload your games directly to facebook gameroom. We can create high end games now on facebook which is good.

Michael's picture


@John Lanz:
Agree... How exactly that new FB gizmo works ?

Michael's picture


Agree with john here, and how (exactly) does that new gizmo on
FB for Unity works ?
*guess what, guys: tried to install new Unity 5.5 - it failed,
and only screwed my project, thanks to (as always) new Unity bug,
with every new release :)

Whip's picture


Chrome didn't kill Unity, Chrome revived Mozilla Firefox.

Nabil Faris's picture

Nabil Faris

man google nowadays are so unfair im just a 10 year old kid that just wanna play a game in facebook, i want to play my old favorite game ever in facebook. Man the old days feels much fun. :`(

Susan James's picture

Susan James

Unity's Web Player keeps running off the Netscape module API (NPAPI). Chrome didn't totally nix bolster for the Web Player and NPAPI, they simply impaired help as a matter of course.

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