DeNA thinks it can make a lot of money — successful titles could earn more than $25 million each month — making games that use Donkey Kong, Mario and Nintendo's cast of characters through the game development partnership the companies announced in March.
Reuters quotes DeNA CEO Isao Moriyasu, who said the company is eyeing "hundreds of millions of people" to play "multiple hit games" featuring Nintendo characters. Moriyasu thinks that the company can out-earn its most successful game, Kaito Royale, which became so popular that it's now a TV show.
"We haven't talked to Nintendo about targets, but at DeNA, our best-selling game brought in 3 billion yen a month, and we want to surpass that," he said. As of this writing, that converts to $25.08 million.
DeNA and Nintendo announced their partnership in mid-March. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata said shortly after that the companies hoped to release their first game this year. He also said that the both would come to a "mutual agreement" about their models.
Although the partnership announcement said that "all Nintendo IP will be eligible for development and exploration by the alliance," what those games will be and who will star in them is still a mystery.
Observers have been calling for Nintendo to make its way into the mobile market for a few years, in part because of disappointing hardware sales for the Wii U console. Initially, Nintendo was largely noncommittal on the topic. Its executives never ruled a mobile presence out, though they often implied that, whatever the company did, it would use mobile to drive customers to its more traditional products, like the Nintendo 3DS handheld and Wii U.
In December 2013, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said that the company was experimenting with "little experiences you can have on your smartphone or tablet" and spoke of Nintendo's desire to "use these devices as marketing tools for our content."
Based on Iwata's statements in early 2014, whatever the games become, they won't be ports of existing Nintendo titles.
"We feel that simply releasing our games just as they are on smart devices would not provide the best entertainment for smart devices, so we are not going to take any approach of this nature," he said.