Earlier this year, Mega Man Battle Network turned ten (and made us all feel a little bit older). Now on 1Up, writer Jeremy Parish has a feature running commemorating the series, with a focus on how it saved Mega Man, if at least for a time. I don't know if I agree with all of Jeremy's points myself, but it is certain that the game was successful in generating a new audience for Mega Man while still managing to appeal to a degree of the original fans, thanks to its liberal use of characters and themes from the classic games. It definitely was meant to be aimed at kids but it managed to tie together fun gameplay (gimmicks aside) and an amusing tale.
Personally, I still think there's a lot of potential left in the concept. Battle Network may have eventually been mishandled and petered out, but its high point is proof of the success it's capable of.