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Round-Up: Blu-ray Pricing, Nickelodeon Exec Hires, KHII Sales + Voices

Today's round-up includes news on Sony Pictures' Blu-ray pricing and DVD/UMD bundles, new information on Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts sales figures ahead of the se...
Today's round-up includes news on Sony Pictures' Blu-ray pricing and DVD/UMD bundles, new information on Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts sales figures ahead of the sequel, and a changing of the game-related guard at kids firm Nickelodeon, as well as the latest GameSetWatch posts, today's product news, and the latest Gamasutra job postings. - Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced the pricing structure for its own studio's movies on its Blu-ray Disc media format, the same medium that PlayStation 3 games will use. Older catalog releases will sell wholesale for $18, while new releases will be $23.45; Sony is setting no suggested retail price for either variety, allowing retailers to choose their own profit margins on the discs. In addition, the company's home video arm announced plans to sell movies with the DVD and UMD versions bundled together in one package, for nearly the same prices that standalone DVD releases currently command. The first films scheduled to be bundled are The Grudge, Resident Evil, Underworld, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and The Terminator on March 28th. - Square Enix released information on Kingdom Hearts II's voice cast, as well as details on the series' sales success so far in North America. The original Kingdom Hearts for PS2 has sold over 2.6 million copies in the territory, while the PS2 sequel sold over 1 million in the first three days after its Japanese release. For the North American release of Kingdom Hearts II, all of the original voice cast will return, including Haley Joel Osment as series protagonist Sora, with the exception of Mena Suvari replacing Mandy Moore as Final Fantasy VII's Aerith. New to the cast are Rachel Leigh Cook as FFVII's Tifa, Steve Burton as FFVII's Cloud, Christopher Lee as Diz, and Jesse McCartney as Roxas. Disney film characters will also generally be played by their original voice actors, such as Zach Braff voicing Chicken Little and Ming-Na voicing Mulan. - Nickelodeon has named Steve Youngwood as its new executive VP for Nickelodeon Digital Media, a position created to oversee Nickelodeon's video game, wireless, interactive television, and digital video initiatives. Previously senior VP of Entertainment Products at the company, Youngwood will report to Nickelodeon president Cyma Zarghami. "Steve is one of Nickelodeon's secret talents and has been a driving force in expanding our programming and creative content to exciting new platforms, from video games and records, to DVDS and cell phones, and most recently, iTunes," said Zarghami. The move came alongside other executive hires, including Tom Ascheim as Nickelodeon Television's new executive VP and general manager. - The latest posts on Gamasutra sister weblog GameSetWatch include an arcade renaissance, featuring the 'laser crane', some new info on GameTap's latest programming, and a look at the most miniscule retro remakes ever, among others. - Also updated today: product news including DemonWare and Sega's partnering for Outrun 2006, Hansoft's update on its game project management software, and Ubisoft's use of Vicon in-house motion capture, as well as the latest Gamasutra job postings from companies including Activision / Infinity Ward, Blizzard Entertainment, Datascope Recruitment, Disney Buena Vista Games, Factor 5, Konami Digital Entertainment, LimeLife, and Rockstar Toronto.

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