Michael Pachter, a Wedbush Securities research analyst who covers digital entertainment, said that the mobile game, although important to Universal's plan, probably would not be a significant revenue generator.
"I think that because they have product behind it, they care less about doing $10 million in mobile game revenue, but more about whether it gets downloaded 5 million times — because that's maybe 5 million people that will see your movie," he said.
Universal also is working with Hasbro to make versions of classic board games — including Monopoly and Operation — that will feature the minions.
The studio declined to divulge its financial arrangements with Thinkway, Gameloft and Hasbro.
Universal anticipates retail sales of all "Despicable Me" products in the range of $200 million to $250 million worldwide over three years. Some experts believe that's too optimistic.
Ira Mayer, publisher of the trade publication "Licensing Letter," said Universal's sales projection "is pretty strong for essentially a first time out," though he added that the product push would be aided by the brand's recognition overseas.
The first film, which centered on a villain named Gru and his efforts to steal the Earth's moon with the help of his minions, performed well overseas, grossing $292.5 million.
In the aftermath of the movie's success, Universal decided to extend the brand by opening a "Despicable Me" ride at its Orlando, Fla., theme park last summer and even replacing the statue of Woody Woodpecker at its front gate in Universal City with two minions.
Executives at Universal, which finances and distributes Illumination's family movies, see the opportunity to exploit new intellectual properties from Meledandri's team, among them a planned minions movie spinoff scheduled to hit theaters Dec. 19, 2014.
"Some of them will lend themselves to toys and consumer products and others may not," Meledandri said. "The ones that we believe really work we will go after with conviction."