Evoking the name of Dr. Richard Bartle probably causes different reactions in different people, but the important thing isn't whether or not you know the man. What's important is that you check out this series of slides from his discussion at IMGDC about the three possible futures MMOs could be facing. We're expecially fond of how he ties in different classic movies, which end up giving each of the three futures the perfect names, "The good, the bad and the ugly" along with adding in some Muppets and Blondie for good measure.
Our take on the three different futures is that we generally agree with Dr. Bartle's projections on how things would pan out -- that includes which one he thinks will actually come to pass. So go check it out, we promise that it's a very worth-while read if you've got any interest in how things could most likely play out.