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I vote no money, as I trust the current staff and would hate to see them lose control of things. Furthermore I love how NG is small enough that I see the same users often enough to get to know them, and I'd hate to lose that.
That said, I know how it is to have totally awesome projects itching at the back of your mind that you can't create on account of lack of resources, and if you think taking VC is the right step to get things done and that you can be absolutely certain that these projects will make back the money you spend on them, go for it.
At 4/13/12 04:47 PM, TomFulp wrote: Investors would want us to delete the hentai anyway...
This sickens me.
The site is great the way it is, but that's not to say it could be improved. It's gone through change after change, and if a VC choice was taken, I'd stick by it, simply because I love the site. It's just things like this, the removal of content (no matter how daft), or the 'friendly reminders' from investors on how to run the site would mean it would never be the same.
But that's not all a bad thing. The money to make this website huge... to empower the real artists of the internet rather than people who sit in front of a webcam would be unbelievable. Think about the animations, the games, the music and art that could be made, the people that could be promoted thanks to a little more successful Newgrounds.
I've seen a lot of Newgrounders turn to YouTube for a source of advertisement of their talent. As much as they love the site, that's where they'll find the money, that's where they'll get the views. Imagine if Newgrounds could be that constant source of appraisal for those who deserve it?
I made a post in haste before about how I would hate the change, but I'm not completely sure. It's a tough choice for us, let alone you Tom. You've run this website for over a decade, you've made it a brilliant place for us to be, so in the end I guess it's where you see the website going.
plays tiny violin
At 4/13/12 04:55 PM, Knoxius wrote: what happens if it doesnt work? would ng go under?
It is much worse than under. Share holders and bankers would be happily sucking money as juices out of the fallen. What is going to happen there not enough juices from the fallen?
Imagination is free.
I'm a little caught on this one. I'm leaning a bit more towards option 2, but I'm not 100% for it because of the possible repercussions.
I've always considered NG to be "Freedom for all things in animation" and to a further extent: games, music and artwork. On the other hand, if there's more funding, more promotion and more advertising, NG could definitely expand far and beyond what it is now, giving more and more opportunities for people producing content for the site to go farther along with it. I know a lot of the bigger artists you mentioned last post are sort of "moving on" to YouTube and the like, but I think there's also a certain amount of loyalty to NG and the community of artists that've come from it. If you went with option two, what would this mean for the people who submit content? Would certain things be off limits? You mentioned "hentai" and probably other certain adult stuff that'd have to be understandably removed, but would parodies and things with pre-existing characters, images (and sprites) or songs be off-limits, or would that be even more a selling point than it is now for the site? (I mean no offense by this, either. I'm just speaking realistically).
Would there be an increased risk of companies getting a bit upset with their intellectual property (images/sounds/characters) being used in some users videos? (I think something similar happened when Google bought Youtube)
At 4/13/12 04:48 PM, Heretic-Anchorite wrote:
On a side note, If you are going to go VC then I will definitely be interested in investing.
Also, if you are going to be selling equity as stock, would you be selling any directly? I'd rather cut out the broker.
To be honest, I see great potential for newgrounds, and being I've been on here for awhile, I'd let you run the site as you see fit. I'd get mostly preferred stock anyways.
At 4/13/12 04:21 PM, MindChamber wrote: No VC.. concentrate on microtransations, to funnel back into turning NG into a platform. Keep NG lean and small, and work hard to make NG the ultimate publisher for developers and artists alike. Steam-squared.
I like that idea too.
With all the Indie market having a good boost of interest as of late, Newgrounds should become an actual game publisher, help people release Console games, sponsor em, and such, perhaps just officially merge with the Behemoth... and make TONS OF AMAZING GAMES, while staying the great website it is right now. Does that make sense to anybody other than me?
I must admit that I'm quite surprised and a little bit disappointed that this is being seriously considered, Tom, but I can't blame you. I can only imagine how great of an opportunity this is, but I'm afraid that Newgrounds would no longer represent what it has always stood for: an independent website that thrives on having a close relationship with its userbase, where everything is in good fun and pretty much nothing is serious business.
Newgrounds is, and has always been, a site that thrives on the community. Yes, the portal system brings about a lot of submissions that give the site an "anything goes" type of feel, but in general there are moral lines (albeit further back than most people's) that are not crossed. I think the key here is to focus on things that make the site unique, and determine whether a venture capitalist would truly be able to help you expand on them. There are plenty of places to play Flash games on the internet, but if NG could take back the niche market that they essentially created, it'd be game over.
I can't really decide. But as long as you stay in control and keep what makes NG what it is, then go for option two.
I don't wanna see NG go all family friendly though.
all of you guys at NG have been working so hard for so long on this thing - i wouldn't mind seeing the NG staff takin' that money and livin it up a bit - - i don't find it likely that any corporation would change the intrinsic Newgrounds atmosphere much. (besides removing the hentai)
At 4/13/12 04:50 PM, MrPercie wrote: But I dont see the downsides of taking the money but its really your decision.
But I go with the money option because it sounds good.
Really? You don't see ANY downsides whatsoever? Let me give you a small list of some of its downsides:
1) You'd care more about money than the people and quality.
2) It doesn't benefit smaller groups nor does it care about them.
3) Larger companies will be willing to buy this site, turning it into a deformed piggy bank.
Just because it sounds good, doesn't mean it IS good.
Words do not kill people, people kill words.
You have no enemies, you are your enemy.
I concur with Mindchamber on this one, it would be best if you focused on microtransactions for your investments as a means to keep this site the way it is. I know that these kinds of decisions are tough, but it's just another "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. Besides, I like this site the way it was founded on.
As much as I'd hate to see Newgrounds sell out entirely or become overrun with corporate influence, I also don't want to see it just disappear, struggle, or have a gradually declining userbase. As a member of the forums, I've noticed they've been slowly getting emptier, people aren't participating, and I think maybe a kick in the pants is what Newgrounds needs. If you think the companies that are offering are not going to end up turning Newgrounds into a lifeless propoganda bot, then yeah, I'd say go for the money. I've invested a lot of time into this site, and I want it to keep going strong. Whatever you pick Tom, know that I love NG, and understand whatever decision you have to make is for the greater good of the website :)
At 4/13/12 04:20 PM, Vonschlippe wrote: I am definitely for the option of venture capital.
As long as nobody loses ownership rights over their own work. (Kinda like posting something on facebook makes the photo their own intellectual property... yeah, fuck that)
At 4/13/12 04:53 PM, TheSavant wrote: What do you actually think the site would gain by going the VC route?
Clearly you would be able to sponsor more games and animation because you'd have the extra funds, but other than that, how do you think the site would improve? Through watching the site develop since 2006, I can tell how this site isn't really about making you or your employees money.
Basically, the heart and soul of NG relies on its being autonomous. It is the fact that the site has everything and supports everyone from dudes doing stupid Sonic spoofs to people like Shadman who earn their reputation doing gruesome art. VC isn't going to like the fact that people like Shadman exist and are celebrated on this site, and that's a bad deal for NG. Part of the reason the site is so successful in the first place is because it filters very little content.
If you lose your autonomy and become just another flash portal that sponsors a bunch of flash artists, I don't see how NG would be any different than Armour Games or Kongregate. That wouldn't be a bad thing necessarily, I like those sites, but there is something special about the heart of NG that keeps it much more interesting. I'm against selling out to VC. However, if you have a real plan on how the site can accept this money and turn the site into something way better than what it is now, I might be persuaded.
I think TheSavant nailed my general stance on this whole VC thing, that investors make NG shed anything that gives NG some individuality, and that I can't really see how dishing out sponsor money to more creators will have a significant effect on the site's profitability.
Ultimately, you don't want this site to become either a YouTube or a Kong/AG clone, and that any investment generates more site traffic. Getting money from an investor who only understands NG as a possible money making machine, or wants to strip the site down, will more than likely be costly to the site and will result in people migrating.
I also feel that doing nothing is also a bad decision as well, and that there should be some alternatives to make the site move forward.
VC is what I would go for, if I were you.
Of all people Tom, you should know that the NG community is not the best place to go for financial advice.
Venture capital though.
illicit makes a damn good signature.
Taking investment is different than selling the company and it's not necessarily as black and white as "keep all control" or "give up all control."
If it's the right kind of investor, one who adds value to what NG is and agrees (in writing) to keep you in creative control (and hopefully you'd still have the ownership/voting power to over-ride anything idiotic) then it could be something really good. It could give you the capital to achieve much bigger things. Things you've only dreamed about.
That said, once you begin working with other people at the helm, it can be quite easy to find yourself disgruntled from compromises which conflict with the true "edge" of your vision. Your personality would go crazy under that kind of compromise I suspect.
The only way I could see you being happy is if the investor was someone you know and trust, have worked with in the past, and brings in something more long-lasting than money, ie: has connections or skills that directly tie-into your goals. Plus, they'd have to agree to be extremely hands off and trust YOU to use their money with near-impunity.
That's a tall order for investors these days, so likely, for your own happiness and sanity, I'd say you're better off staying independent even though you have to tighten your belt to stay afloat.
It seems like a risky move to me. I guess you gotta take into account that even if NG will be a very successful business for a while, that success will (probably) fade eventually and then you might be left with nothing. Also, I don't know much about how VC works, but Newgrounds is something you've worked on for most of your life and if I understand this VC thing correctly you're (partially) putting it in the hands of some company that just wants to see profit and doesn't care about NG otherwise. It'd be such a shame if it doesn't work out and they destroy everything you've built up over the years.
On the other hand, I understand if you want to take the money and if you think that can really give NG a huge boost then go for it.
If I have to vote I vote for keep going solo though.
PS: I really appreciate how you're asking us for our opinion on this matter.
Hmm, while I would like newgrounds to be much bigger and better, I just bet that in doing that, you would take away the things that make newgrounds so special such as the fact that the whole NG crew updates frequently and personally listens to their users opinions and reads what they have to say... I just think that newgrounds would lose it's diversity and become like any old other very commercialized site.
Just my thoughts
I would suggest to keep Newgrounds the way it is. I personally think this will bite people in the ass.
Yeah, I don't speak much...
I'm kind of torn on this one.
I mean, I don't know much about VC, but when a large amount of money is involved, it usually means bending over and taking it for someone else, or BECAUSE of someone else.
And then there's the huge threat of NG becoming even bigger than it is now. I mean, NG is pretty successful and big right now, but what if it grows out of control? What if you really do "Take over the entire internet"? I don't want NG to lose the spirit that it was made in, you know?
I say let's stay NG, and not go VC. I mean, an Ad-free website would be nice, and helping other people would be just fine and dandy...but I'd rather not have NG risk everything that MAKES it NG.
At 4/13/12 04:07 PM, TomFulp wrote:At 4/13/12 04:05 PM, Bahamut wrote: Shut up and take the money! If there's a lot of great possibilities from this, don't hold back.Money: 7
I just gotta be clear, once NG takes money it is on a near-guaranteed path to being sold to a larger company at which point it could be scuttled or transformed into something no one wants. Without money NG could exist forever, it's just that no one may care that it exists.
To hell with that. Keep being NG. There are more important things in life than cash. Never sell out, Tom.
At 4/13/12 04:29 PM, Zachary wrote: Don't take the money. I'd rather see Newgrounds grow through means of having amazing content ( which it does ) than getting larger solely on the fact that it has more money. You mentioned that Newgrounds could end up being sold to a larger company and then being transformed into something completely different. Obviously that would be extremely devastating to artists who use Newgrounds to express themselves.
The only way I see venture capital being a wise option is if you are guaranteed to not have to be sold to a larger company.
Techno's right. I wouldn't care if NG is a billion dollar company if it has to sell its soul in the process. The idea of 13 employees doing their thing and providing a creative place for artists to go on the internet is brilliant and to possibly lose that by going for VC is sickening to me. I don't ever want to see NG in a position where it has to gamble for its life.
I dunno. I know this isn't strictly a decision to sell out or not, but I'm really uneasy about this venture capital thing. My vote is not do it.
I only read the first page, cause I don't wanna read 4 pages to see what has or hasn't been said, but I say stay alone and NG.
The best thing about newgrounds is that it's Tom, Wade, Stamper, liljim, and all you guys. Not just "The guys at newgrounds" The staff have names and faces and personalities, and nobody has to worry about being politically correct or anything shitty like that that comes with being a big company.