Sony is "madly working" to hit its scheduled end of the year open beta date for PlayStation Home, it has said.

Speaking at the Games 3.0 conference this morning in London, which is part of the London Games Festival, Jamie MacDonald, vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, said the latest on the much delayed Second Life-style virtual world was that "it's going well".

He said: "At Tokyo Game Show it was announced that PlayStation Home will be hitting what we're calling an open beta by the end of the year, which means it will be available to everybody.

"And the latest is, it's going very well. The guys are madly working to make sure that date is hit, and it's going very well."

Recent speculation suggested the open beta for Home was set to begin at the end of October, to coincide with the release of Home version 1.00 and PS3 firmware 2.50. However, Sony is now officially saying the open beta will hit at the end of the year.

MacDonald revealed that PS3 Home was originally conceived in response to frustration at the hardcore nature of online gaming, which he called "geeky, tedious and short".

He said: "The reason why we even started developing that (PS3 Home) was really a frustration a few years ago that the online experience for most games players was geeky, tedious and short. Certainly in my experience, I got into a first person shooter online and I lasted about 15 seconds. It's not much fun. So that was really our driving force with Home, to provide an environment where it's fun to go, you can hang out with like-minded people and talk about games, play games, have a look at the leaderboards, but in an environment that was game centred but not just for these teenage boys, who are fine, but they enjoy very much shooting people, which is fine."