I was planning a doing a different video today, but I want to push that back to answer this tag. I found this tag on Steve Benways channel feel I can add something. Maximum RD has laid out several questions, and I'm going to address them all.
1) How useful and important do you think the feature is? Very! I never had a Gamecube so I got the Wii, I did purchase several of the best GameCube games, that I missed out the first time around. Like wise with DS, I never had a GBA, but I did purchase Minish Cap and many several other hit gameboy advanced games. This gives early adapters (which I was in both cases) I huge library of software to choose from on day one, and guarantees a good back catalog should the current console fail. Any system, including the so called failures, do have a handful of good games. Removing the cost of entry to the GameCube's catalog, allows me to purchase the games on their own, without dropping $200 or so on the GameCube hardware. This is especially nice for portables, where you rather carry one system that can play multiple games, than two systems to play the separate games. New systems, when done correctly can enhance the existing titles. The Super Gameboy, and Gameboy advanced are excellent examples of this. Another critical example is the Bleemcast. The dreamcast could actually play PS1 games, better than the PS1 or 2. It's a failure of Sony, to allow the Dreamcast better at playing Playstation games then the Playstation. 2) Do you factor in Backwards compatibility as part of your buying decession. YES! One thing that the Wii U has going for it, is that the controllers, games and other accessories will continue to work. The Wii controllers are deceptively expensive, and being able to carry that investment over to the new system is a big plus. If you look at the cost of Wii motes, by the time you include the batteries, the nunchuck, the wii-motion plus enhancement and the classic controller, they cost over $100 a pop.
It might be the sole reason, my girlfriend wants a Wii U. She's not nuts about the new controller, but is happy she can use the existing controllers. 3) Is it a must have feature? No. It's a big plus, but it's inclusion isn't a deal breaker. I want to include some personal feelings as well. Back in the 80's and 90's, Atari and Sega were able to pull of this feat! It shouldn't be so hard for the companies to do it now. With the move to opitical drives, there is no real cost to have the system read the old disc. CD's and DVD's can still be read on Bluray drives. And with emulation, there is no extra hardware needed. And Nintendo has shown us, that you can include the previous generations "chip", and has a secondary processor. So the DS can use the GBA chip to play GBA games, as a sound chip for the DS games, just to give an example.