Source: Several customer support pages of L.A. Noire developer Rockstar.
What we heard: A posting in the support section of Rockstar’s website said the L.A. Noire developer had "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." The posting from Rockstar Support, since removed from the website, attributed the issue to the recent 3.61 PlayStation 3 firmware update, saying, "There have been various reports of this on a few games now, all reporting their PS3s turning off or 'Red Lighting' after having installed 3.61."
Speaking to games industry site next-gen.biz, Sony denied the 3.61 update was causing the problem, saying there is "currently no evidence to indicate firmware 3.61 is causing any issues with PS3s." Moreover, Sony pointed the finger back at Rockstar, citing a work-around recently posted on the developer’s site as evidence that L.A. Noire is to blame rather than the firmware update.
The work-around, according to Sony, reveals that the issue is also happening on Xbox 360s, for which L.A. Noire is also available. "Rockstar have now updated their FAQ on the matter, have admitted it's a fault with its latest title L.A. Noire and have offered a work-around," said the platform holder to next-gen.biz. "It should also be noted that the issue with this title is not PS3 specific and is also affecting other consoles."
The work-around, notes Rockstar, has "received a few tickets about some isolated crashes/freezes" and is investigating the cause. It suggests users delete L.A. Noire game data (not save data) on the PS3 or clear the cache on the Xbox 360.
Bogus or not bogus?: At the time of writing, we are waiting for comment from Rockstar and Microsoft. Sony comments: "We have received a very small number of customer support questions about PS3s overheating or shutting down while playing L.A. Noire. At this time, Rockstar Games and Sony can confirm that neither L.A. Noire or firmware update 3.61 are causing the PS3 hardware to overheat. We are both committed to working hard to find solutions to this and any issues that may arise."
It remains to be seen how serious or widespread the issue is, or what the precise cause is; Sony's comment suggests the issue, if any, isn't caused by LA Noire or the 3.61 update. The near-simultaneous launch of L.A. Noire and the 3.61 firmware update may be an unlucky coincidence, though Rockstar's general advice on dealing with L.A. Noire freezes on both consoles falls short of proof that both machines are suffering the exact same issue.