Originally Posted by Blameless
Losing the optical disc makes sense; they are extremely bulky for their storage capacity and a prime point of failure. There should just be a few USB ports and maybe an SD card reader.
However, I think splitting the platform into four different segments is probably unwise, and will certainly not be good for consumers. Two models should suffice: the budget one, and the high-end one.
I think microsoft only runs into trouble if there are more than two tiers of performance. As it is, developers are going to target the low end console, and then add additional features for the high end variant. They do this already with PC ports. Ideally, the CPU and memory on the two consoles should be the same, and the only difference should be in the GPU. The high end console can support 4k, higher frame rates, and features like freesync and maybe even a VR implementation, while functionally they run the same games without compromises in core features or game play mechanics.
A high end game console with the right set of features could be enticing to me as a PC enthusiast. PC performance is largely stagnating, so you don't gain much by going high end custom PC anymore, and the performance of a home console can be comparable for two or three years, instead of 18 months max like in past releases. The gaming experience on consoles is almost always more stable and refined. You don't have to fuss with drivers or adjust settings in game. Enthusiast class features like general purpose VR, high resolution, high refresh rate, and variable refresh rate could put console in parity with a gaming PC and be a compelling option. I'll be watching this closely.