A drop in difficulty? Don't count on it.
A rise in difficulty though won't likely be much looking at the numbers, so that's good.
A downward trend is seen for the moment.
It won't drop.
But the crazy increase has probably stalled.
People looking to make money, it's hard to justify hardware purchases that now might take 4-6 months to pay off. Even to assume that you're making a lot of bullish assumptions on a lot of variables.
It's also shaking out a lot of people who made good money, don't like the fact it's dropped and are happy to bow out. If you were making $50 a day and now you make $30 a day you're probably going to sell your hardware now while there is still demand. Plus CPU mining probably loses you money at this point so that will shake out even more people.
But, there's plenty of people who like computers, think it's fun and if they make 40% on their hardware that's well worth it. Shit there's people spending 5-10-20k on folding hardware and they don't make anything. The geek/hardware guys are going to keep doing it because it's fun, the fact it makes money is just a bonus. The network is going to keep going up unless there's a crash but I don't see that in the near future.
The biggest exchange basically gave everyone's data away, lots of people got robbed, and overall it was just a blip in the network. That shows there's plenty of resilience in bitcoins. If a month ago someone said MtGox was going to get hacked, everyones data lost, peoples gmail passwords changed, money stolen from pools, etc... people would have said bitcoins would be lucky to survive or survive after a 60-80% drop. But the fact MtGox was offline people found new exchanges, the price didn't tank so when people got access back a very small percentage dumped their BTCs.
As we move from making "profit" to simply "getting discount hardware" there will be less growth but there will still be growth. Once it gets so hard to mine with gpus you lose money, some people will still keep doing it. But I have a feeling that would only help the value of bitcoins not really hurt it. Plus we have the next leap after gpus in the pipeline.