Sony has confirmed that in-game XMB access will be available sometime this year, but it could be here earlier than expected. In a mix-up on the US PlayStation Website, the PS3 section of the website mentioned "talk to others during gameplay, say hellow anytime you’re online" but was then taken off the website shortly after. Luckly, the information is still available from Google’s cache and is also shown in the screenshot below. Also, the same information appears on the Australian PlayStation Website.
Could Sony be prepping to release a new firmware update, or will there be an announcenment at GCD? Only time will tell.