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I am having the same exact issue myself. Starting a month or two ago, it got harder and harder to get PS3 games to play. Now it plays anything that is not blu-ray based. I would be very interested in hearing how you are able to fix the problem.
The laser in the dvd drive requires different strengths to read different discs. If its reading movies and not games then the laser is starting to go bad in it. You can either replace the laser if your tech save to open up the ps3 and opening up the dvd drive, or you can just get another drive to put in there. Either one you can get from Ebay fairly cheap.
Same problem here, your only option is to send it in to sony. I'm about to click submit with my card information to pay the fee. Mine reads everything but blu ray games and movies. If yours is over a year old it's probably out of warranty like mine unless you bought the extended warranty. For you crlnmcgrth, i would check and see if you can find out when you bought yours exactly. If you are still under warranty sony will fix it for free or send you another system identical to yours for free. Call 1-800-345-sony. They open at 9 am est or 6 pst. Hope this helps.