Rockstar says that the older "fat" models are at risk of malfunctioning from the newest firmware update for the PS3.
Complaints have flooded Rockstar Games, the publisher of the recently released game L.A. Noire, over a rash of frozen and malfunctioning PS3s that failed while attempting to play the mammoth game. "We have received some reports of PS3s overheating while playing L.A. Noire or beeping three times before shutting down/turning themselves off, mostly on older 60GB and 80GB fat models," said a statement on the company's website.
According to Rockstar, this problem is only occurring on machines that have downloaded and installed firmware update 3.61, which was recently released by Sony in an attempt to fix the security problems discovered after the PSN hack fiasco. The update could be what is causing the problems, which "can range from games randomly freezing to PS3s turning off anywhere between 30 mins use to 2 hours." Rockstar certainly believes that to be the case, stating "We have confirmed locally that multiple games (Rockstar and non-Rockstar) overheat or freeze only when 3.61 is installed."
"At this time we are recommending contacting Sony directly to report the overheating issue. However, this is not the end of our support; we are continuing to test L.A. Noire on all firmware versions and hardware models to isolate the issues and see what can be done."
Sony has yet to make a statement regarding the malfunctioning PS3s, but I imagine the general mood is "We just can't catch a break, can we."