I'm curious about peoples predictions of what happens next.
Difficulty is bumping up 50%, meaning drastically reduced mining rates for... everyone. Price seems to have stabilized / capped around 7USD per bitcoin for now.
Will the price shoot up to offset the difficulty again or will it remain stable/drop in response to people dropping out of the bitcoin game?
Price should rise a little due to decreased supply. Right now there are 10 blocks mined per hour, rather than the 6 that should be. That's a big supply difference.
As for difficulty not going up any more, we still have a much lower difficulty than the price has historically dictated. Rigs that are already set up are profitable vs. their variable costs, so it's not like they are going anywhere. The increase in new rigs may decrease, but someone who already has hardware might find out about Bitcoin and start mining.