Canon put the light meter in the camera body because they did some experiments and found it gave more accurate readings than having it in the prism finder, and it also retained the metering ability in all the various viewfinders available.
There's something good to say for each approach. Canon's approach meant that the meter was tightly integrated and worked with most finders; Nikon's meant that the meter could be improved, in a time of rapid change in technology.
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.