Well, it’s been about six months now that I’ve had the Playstation 3 in hand, and the same-old same-old problem crops up; because I’m a smoker, the lens has become dirtied and all of a sudden it stopped picking up discs (except after, say the 20th try).
Unlike the PS2, it’s not very easy to get to the laser in the PS3, so you’re going to have to go with the standard methods of cleaning. In other words, get a laser lens cleaner CD. I recommend the Scotch-3M model; it worked the best for me.
Now, I ran that CD through the PS3 a few times and it began to pick up the discs a bit more quickly — but still not on the first try. However, I was eventually able to get the PS3 to recognize Blu-ray discs (those are the first to go in terms of the machine picking up the disc) by adding one extra step. Here it is.
The CD will have, if you turn it over, a few very small brushes poking up. What I recommend is taking a paper towel or cloth of some sort, and soaking it with rubbing alcohol. Then take the cloth and dab as much rubbing alcohol on the brush area as you can. Then put the disc in and run the cleaning track.
This got the PS3 back to (for the time being) recognizing discs on the first try. I also recommend just returning the PS3 if your warranty is still good; chances are the newer models have more sturdy lasers.
Anyway, I hope this helps a few people…