Poor PlayStation 3. It just can’t seem to catch a break. As the highly publicized PlayStation Network outage continues, Microsoft has to be secretly grinning behind the scenes. In fact, they do expect a jump in Xbox Live users while Sony sorts out this mess.

While they certainly would never admit to offices full of high-powered executives doing the happy dance for the last few days, a Microsoft distribution network representative did take the time to chime in on the situation.

Here’s what they had to say:

“Of course it’s regretful that Sony is encountering issues at such a busy time, and Microsoft takes no joy in the problems gamers are having playing their favourite games online. That being said, we are expecting Microsoft’s robust online network to see an increase of traffic from those gamers who own both systems. Being able to play their games via the Xbox LIVE network could make all the difference for some gamers, and the Xbox Nations event will allow all of them to do just that — whether they have a Gold subscription or not.”

Obviously Microsoft isn’t going to go into full-on tongue-out gloat mode, but the humor derived simply from the timing of this PR disaster for Sony surely isn’t lost on them. As the rep mentions, the Xbox Nations event this coming weekend is going to give everyone who owns a network connected Xbox a chance to experience the Gold service for a few days. For anyone who primarily does their online gaming over PSN, this is the perfect time for Microsoft to blanket them with their warm, working-Xbox-Live-network embrace.

Possibly the bigger timing snafu at play here comes with the releases of Portal 2, Mortal Kombat and SOCOM 4 this past week. These were three (maybe two) high profile releases that, on paper, had the better in-box incentives for gamers to purchase them on the PS3. SOCOM is exclusive to the console, Portal 2 offered a full game key for Steam to PS3 and cross-platform play, while Mortal Kombat gave them gaming’s favorite bad-ass, Kratos, as an exclusive playable character. Anyone who purchased those games for Sony’s console instead of the Xbox 360, myself included, has to be kicking themselves at least a little bit since the online portions of these games have been rendered useless for the better part of these games’ launch week.

If there were ever a time for Xbox 360 fanboys to feel justified with their usual chants of, “You get what you pay for,” this would be it. Any PS3 owners feeling a more than a little irked at this situation? Will Microsoft see their expected spike in Xbox Live traffic? Does anyone want to trade me a 360 copy of Mortal Kombat for a PS3 one?

[Breaking: Sony just confirmed it was hackers who brought PSN down.]

Source: Electronic Theater