You may know DeNA, if you know them at all, as the folks behind the G.I. Joe and Transformers mobile app games. You can now add Mario and every other Nintendo IP ever to that list, though this partnership is all about creating new games designed to be apps, and not simply ports of existing titles.
Silicon Era reports that Nintendo wishes to avoid the kinds of games that require you to purchase lots of in-game extras, and that “Nintendo will be handling the planning and design for their smartphone titles. Meanwhile, DeNA will handle server development, daily operations, and user analysis, since those are the company’s strengths.” However, there will be a new rewards program to replace Club Nintendo.
Considering that Tetris and Dr. Mario are in many ways the original casual games, I think this could play to Nintendo’s strengths. They’d be crazy NOT to do a Mario running game, of course, since running and jumping are primary traits of his – but I think there’s hope for some actual creativity here too.