Just shy of 20 years ago, when online multiplayer games were a fairly new concept to the public, Blizzard created a website and a brand around their gaming platform: Battle.net. It became the foundation for all future Blizzard games, including their blockbuster franchises: Diablo and Warcraft. The name appeared front-and-center throughout many games, being added later to Warcraft 2 and included in the original Diablo.
After 2 decades of this branding, Blizzard is officially retiring the brand name. This change is happening mainly because the offerings of the service have changed greatly over the years. While a brand like Xbox Live or PlayStation Network can be used to describe a wide variety of services and features, Battle.net certainly suggests online battling. This is not all of what the service offers today.
In addition to online play, the service offers game streaming, voice chat and more. Because of this, these individual feature sets will receive branding similar to the direction that Microsoft and Apple have gone. Rather than Battle.net Streaming, gamers will see Blizzard Streaming. Blizzard explains the change like this,
When we created Battle.net, the idea of including a tailored online-gaming service together with your game was more of a novel concept, so we put a lot of focus on explaining what the service was and how it worked, including giving it a distinct name. Over time, though, we've seen that there's been occasional confusion and inefficiencies related to having two separate identities under which everything falls - Blizzard and Battle.net. Given that built-in multiplayer support is a well-understood concept and more of a normal expectation these days, there isn't as much of a need to maintain a separate identity for what is essentially our networking technology.
This change has already begun and will continue over the coming months. In just a few months, this legendary brand will be no more, but the technology and mechanics it brought to gaming will remain.