The lowly Java applet might enjoy a resurrection - especially with high-end gaming designers if Oracle continues pushing this technology.
Imagine a browser based game that could serve unlimited amounts of HD content (models, textures, sounds, etc) as you play. Even stereoscopic 3D games could have worlds of near infinite complexity.
This overcomes the limitations of many other platforms which require shrink-wrapped products of limited capacity.
Since Oracle acquired Sun Micro, some new directions have appeared in recent updates to the common Java Runtime Environment (JRE).
Since build 6u10 (last year) applets have been enjoying much larger and better appointed "sandboxes" than previously.
The most restrictive applet constraint under Sun's regime was the maximum heap size (memory) that an applet could access (varied from 64-96 megs). This discounted applets as toys, incapable of handing 3rd millennium appetites for (filthy) rich visual and aural content.
Of course most modern game development relies on copious amounts memory, indeed the most stunning titles take over the host completely, dedicating all resources to the realtime graphics and sounds.
Whilst maintaing the security "sandboxes" fundamental to the applet architecture, Oracle is slowly "letting the dogs out" on their performance. By removing some of the former constraints, and adding new functionality, applets are now much closer to the dream envisioned by Gosling back in the dot-com.
An example is Standard Orbit from Standard3D.com. This is a 512 Megabyte applet that loads most of its filthy rich content while you play. 500 cubic parsecs of simulated space (or actual cyberspace). Warning - you may need to upgrade your JRE from java.com.
No downloads or installs required!