Usually when I make a post about this sort of stuff I end up erasing it but I'll toss some thoughts out and we'll see what happens.
Some things next year that should be better than this year:
1) Shovelware is much more under control so Mario ATV games shouldn't be as much of an issue in 2013. Spam will still be but if the spam can learn to get funnier that could be ok.
2) We'll have a video conversion server in 2013 and this will be a lot more accommodating for people who want to submit animations in video format. Right now our system is super picky and I end up manually encoding a lot of peoples' videos. The new system will also generate smaller mobile versions and we'll finally get the mobile video browsing in good shape, so people can watch stuff on their phones. Combine that with playlists of videos and people can watch lots of stuff. Also we'll have the Roku feed back in shape and hopefully get up and running in some other TV-related systems.
3) We have broader game support so it's no longer a question of how a game is made, as long as it has been made for a browser. These past few years a lot of people have flocked to mobile but many of them have had blah results. A lot of people have also tried to sell their games but that is a lottery too. It might be wishful thinking but I'm hoping people will rediscover how fun it is to just make a game and release it instantly on the web. Maybe we'll manage to improve ad revenue in 2013 and people who just want to make money will see better opportunities.
4) We'll have NG Passport which should help draw in more registered users from around the web. Our upcoming social gaming updates should make the whole gaming scene healthier.
5) We have some stuff coming to facilitate collaboration, as well as more feeds, so people will hopefully check in more and get more involved.
Really though none of this stuff matters if people still don't want to share their stuff on NG. There's a variety of anecdotal personality-types I've noticed over the past few years:
1) The talented person who doesn't upload their work on NG because they aren't part of the community. I run into this a lot, even with people who got their start on NG; they think because they aren't on the site regularly and aren't posting in the forums, their submission would be out of place and wouldn't belong here. It drives me crazy because I'd love to feature anything cool that people make and giving people something to watch / play / look at / listen to / read is the best community contribution any person can make. This has been a growing problem because NG has become more and more of an isolated island that doesn't feel as inviting to newcomers as it once did.
2) The animator who is now more focused on YouTube. AKA most of the popular animators. For guys who make partner, the ads pay better and for guys who make movies about the right subject matter / have a lot of subscribers, the views are way higher. Sometimes people release on YouTube ahead of NG so they can get the YouTube money and then NG is a second run, kinda like going from theaters to basic cable. Some guys feel like they are making cheap/short movies for their YouTube audience and feel weird about putting it on NG. Some guys are just too busy to worry about both sites. Some guys don't realize they can upload an MP4 on NG. There's a real mix of reasons. I know that for undiscovered animators, NG can still get you more views. The movies of 2012 were a lot better than the movies of 2011 and I'm hoping 2013 will be a great year.
3) The game developer who wants to strike it rich with 1 million people buying their game. All I can say to this is that some of the big indie success stories of this decade spent years giving people free games; guys like me and Dan with the Behemoth or Edmund and Tommy from Team Meat. Every game you make is a learning experience so it's good to just make lots of games for fun and get feedback from the public. When the times comes that you make something to sell, you'll be a better game developer AND you'll have fans who want to support you. We're trying to help people make more money from their free games and in a lot of cases, making free web games has been more profitable than trying to sell games on other platforms. It just doesn't have as much allure right now because mobile has a big shiny jackpot that everyone wants to win.
4) The musician who is focused on other music networks. I still think NG is way more fun and offers more opportunities than other music sites. Playlists have been a nice addition but there's still more we need to do to fill in the gaps of what NG offers. Beyond those gaps, I think we offer something pretty damn awesome; a lot of musicians have gotten to have their work featured in games and movies and share in revenue along the way.
5) A whole bunch of others
When we first launched the Artist News block on the front page, a lot of people used it to promote their Art on DeviantArt. We had everything they needed for sharing movies, games and music but Art was a big gap we were still working to fill. Once the Art Portal launched, the promo posts for DA faded away. DA is still doing awesome, we just aren't bleeding traffic to it. We are, however bleeding traffic to sites like YouTube and SoundCloud. A big question for 2013 is whether we will give people enough that they stop obsessing over promoting sites with similar offerings and start obsessing over building up their presence here on NG. Especially when sites like Facebook want you to now pay them to reach the fans you've acquired through all those efforts.
Some of the biggest things I could ask of people in 2013:
1) If you have made something original, WE WANT TO SEE IT. Don't hesitate to share it on NG just because you feel like an outsider here. We're ALL outsiders.
2) Use the NG platform to promote your presence on NG. YouTube viewers will find you on YouTube. SoundCloud listeners will find you on SoundCloud. Those websites don't let you post directly on their front page and they don't let you embed links to NG in your movies, so despite the fact that it is more to NG's benefit than your own, please extend NG that same courtesy by not using us as a tool to advertise sites that do the same thing we've been striving to do well for much longer. It really just makes me sad. I'm not saying don't link to those sites AT ALL, just don't make me feel like that's the only reason you're using NG, because some people make me feel that way. NG is a very personal thing to me and it's like a slap in the face, or a kick while I'm down.
That sums it up: Share more stuff, send less traffic to other sites. Tell your friends about NG. Those three things are really all we need for a better 2013, I should just erase the rest of this post but I won't this time.
I even found a clever way to tie in last sentence to the first!