Sony Computer Entertainment President Kaz Hirai has announced that the launch of the PlayStation 3 virtual world PlayStation Home will be delayed until spring of 2008.

Speaking at this year’s Tokyo Game Show, Hirai said, “[Home] was originally scheduled to be launched by the end of this year. … It is going to be taking place in the springtime of next year,” and said user feedback was responsible for the delay. “We want this to be a worldwide service and at the same time we want to be sure we have functionality,” he added. “We want to be sure we have a range of services for our users all over the world – that’s how we want to start the service. So we decided to delay the service launch date.”

In development since 2005, PlayStation Home will offer a Second Life-style experience for PlayStation 3 owners. Sony is billing the free-of-charge service as a game-social network crossover, in which users will have fully customizable avatars and private apartments and avatars, as well as access to arcade games, videos and downloadable content.

“I’ve always said that I like to call it an interactive game – something that has interactivity in my definition will be a game. I think thatHome is a new method or way to enjoy interactive entertainment. In the broad sense I call this a game as well,” Hirai said in his address. He also stated that Sony planned to steer away from the often-chaotic, free-for-all environs of some other virtual worlds, saying, “We want to make sure that this is somewhat of a controlled environment, instead of a lawless environment. We want to make sure that we have that level of comfort and security.”

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