Forms were originally developed to be the catalogue/encyclopedia of a style as most were not able to read generations ago. They have many side benefits (conditioning, teaching counters in the two and three person forms, slotting in the "muscle memory", inter alia), sort of like dry firing/practice in shooting.
Depends on what you wish to do. If you want to learn to fight quickly, do not waste your time and find a good combative gym (often MT coupled with BJJ) with solid instruction and people who share the same goals. If you want to learn a system, then take the time.
In my art, praying mantis boxing, the forms have another side or sides to them. I.e. you are not just punching air. It takes much dedication and effort to incorporate them into our sparring--skill through time and effort.
Just my $.02.