I longed for orgs with namespace support. Since I work mostly with managed packages, Scratch Orgs with namespace support would be a very welcome addition.
I must admit that I was very disappointed when I heard that the Branch Orgs feature would never see GA, but I guess Scratch Orgs are the replacement.
I‘m very curious in how Scratch Orgs are meant to disappear, I often use environments like branches, but the development of one branch could last 3 to 6 months.
And the pricing, as you well pointed out, I see how easy it would be for developers to just skip all the trouble, the bureaucracy, and revert to the current way of doing CI with a bunch of different tools. A proprietary governance would be way much better.
Fingers crossed 🤞