March 21st, 2001 -- Battle Network: Rockman EXE launched in Japan, better known here in the States as Mega Man Battle Network. Ten years later, the series has gone on to be one of, if not the most successful ventures in the franchise's history, spawning numerous games, merchandise, and multiple television series. Battle Network was, undeniably, a money making machine.
Whether you love it or hate it, we can all agree MMBN was an immensely successful IP for Capcom; one could even say that without it, we wouldn't even have Mega Man today. By Battle Network 4, the series was in its prime, financially. Both games would go on to sell well over a million units, Takara was rolling in the merchandising dough, and television ratings of Rockman.EXE Axess had never been higher.
A similar trend was happening in the U.S as well. NT Warrior quickly became one of the highest rated Saturday morning cartoons on Kids WB!, and Mattel's NTW toy line was quite popular at the time, with PET units often selling out during its first few months of shelf life.
Unfortunately, BN's winning streak would eventually wain, and come 2009 with the release of Operate Shooting Star, the bubble had finally burst. With lackluster sales and largely negative criticism, the "remake" of the original classic is seemingly the last hurrah from the series. Seemingly being the key word here; you never know what Capcom might have up their sleeves.
Battle Network forever holds a special place in my fanboy's heart, for it was this very series that led me to become a leading member of the now defunct PET World and its offspring, Rockman Synergy. When both ended, I went off to my own little corner of the web -- here.
So here's to you, MMBN. Capcom never could keep you down; I'm sure you'll be back again before we know it!