Individual investors have always known that they operate at a disadvantage to bigger players. Investing is a game based on information, and the faster you can obtain and digest information, the better your final score will be. Information always flows down hill, and individual investors have accepted for years that they are typically the last to learn valuable information that can make or break an investment decision.
While this is just the way the world works, and something that has to be accepted, one thing that has really shifted power away from casual investors has been high-frequency trading. In my opinion, the increased usage of high frequency trading has put individual investors at a major disadvantage, and unless the SEC is able to bring things back to a more level playing field we could see a dramatic decline in the amount of people that play on Wall Street.