is there any reason area lights are still not directly visible in Cycles? It doesn’t make any sense from light transport perspective to have illumination coming from nothing. It makes area light very difficult to use. Most of the time I have to resort to emissive geometry, which comes with significant performance cost. Right now, for Cycles, there is no win scenario when using area lights.
Furthermore, Area Light even has visibility flag for camera:
And it is the only one of those flags that is not respected, so this is on the border of being a bug. Bug or a limiation, either way, it should really be fixed as not having visible area lights is just a no go for any kind of even basic production scenario.