Well, it IS news
Well, it is news, because it seems that the drives are getting more and more fragile. Which seems kinda stupid for a piece of consumer electronics supposed to be used by everyone, without computer expertise or even knowledge that there's a lens in there at all.
E.g., my old Playstation (one) or my Dreamcast saw more than their fair share of smoke and dust, plus they often got shoved in a shoulder bag and hauled from here to there. They still work with no problems.
It's also worth noting, though, that both of those had the lens easily accessible. Just open the lid, and there it bloody is, right in front of your nose. So if you did manage to get yours dirty, you can just clean it yourself.
Of course, that too got lost in the rush to look funkier than the competition. Yeah, designer cases are cool, but don't offer the same kind of access.
Heatsink and fans? Well, those too used to be either (A) unnecessary, or (B) large, almost passive things, that had plenty of headroom to work even with restricted airflow.
By now it all probably looks like a geezer's "bah, in my times..." nostalgia, but it's not. There's a lesson about simple and robust design in consumer electronics in there. Yeah, you could rely on your users being savvy about how a DVD drive works, or sell it only to non-smokers. (There goes half your potential market, eh?) But alternately you could just make the damn thing robust or user-serviceable enough so it doesn't matter. Methinks that the latter has its own advantages, you know?
Plus, it seems to me it goes downhill even from the "no smokers" point. The whole drive to make hotter and hotter chips even in consoles seems like a losing proposition in the long run anyway. The combination of undersized heatsinks and leafblower fans means that the question isn't if you'll have a problem, but _when_. If there's _any_ dust or smoke or cooking vapours in the air, it will get sucked in and some of it will clog the fans and heatsinks. It's a design that's guaranteed to eventually fail, and we're just discovering the variability among people's home environments. For some it's sooner than expected.
And oh yeah, I should buy a good air filter just to keep a cheap console working? Heh. Why doesn't it just come with its own air filters, if it needs any? Ah, right, because they saved a few cents and passed half of that onto me the consumer... at the price of requiring me to spend a lot more money to keep the damn thing working.