Back in the last generation of gaming people and companies made the same claims they make today, that this generation may very well be the last generation of consoles since we have reached such a high level of technology. However, as it turns out there was a new generation, since we now have the seventh generation with PS3, Wii, 360, and OnLive. But was the jump really necessary? Last generation we really reached a level where for the first time high-end graphics and RAM were available. And aside from HD and 3D, it's not all that much different from the current generation.
In this generation we saw an increased use of HD and online play. Compare a current generation game's graphics to a last generation game's graphics on a SDTV, and (depending on the games compared), the difference in graphics is either non-existent or only different on a minuscule level. I may be slightly wrong in this statement, since the only last generation console I am really familiar with is the Nintendo GameCube (and Dreamcast), which was praised as being "eons" ahead of it's competitors in terms of graphics last generation.
Of course, online was only starting to become popular for consoles last generation, and now online is simply a must for all games. Last generation the Dreamcast's online service (Dreamarena, and the second iteration of SegaNet) was shutdown, along with most of it's games, the GameCube's online service only met with limited success (namely Phantasy Star Online), and neither the PS2 or Xbox had online capabilities at launch.
Sure now we can watch Netflix, listen to Last.fm, download updates to games that were half-broken to begin with due to lazy developers, and browse the internet on our consoles, but in terms of actual gaming, was the leap to next-gen really necessary? And more importantly, how would gaming be different today if we were still in the sixth generation, with PlayStation 2, GameCube, Dreamcast, and Xbox?