Skyrim is a huge persistent world, massive even, not as big as Oblivion but it’s at the same time far more detailed. As the info needed to be recorded grows, the savefile size grows along with it. After reaching a mere 5MB, the game slowly but surely begins to become unplayable.
User PurpleHaze posted on the Bethesda forum explaining a multitude of issues he has run into shortly after the game was released. These issues include being unable to interact with NPCs, chop wood, rendering problems, and slow loading. He also said that whenever he reloaded the save, Skyrim would freak out and perform all the queued actions simultaneously.
On a positive side, the NPCs glitching out gave the player literally immunity to being arrested because the game couldn’t bring up the dialog.
The exact cause of this is unknown, but another user said that Fallout 3 and New Vegas had the same bug on the PS3, with the framerate and performance suffering as the file grew in size. It’s likely an incompatibility between the PS3 and the engine Bethesda uses. Here is a video showing the problems encountered.
This is very poor form for Bethesda, especially since this problem was in other games. It’s a good thing modern consoles can be patched. Hopefully this will be fixed in short order. Bethesda has made no comment on the thread as of writing this. They have been working on a patch since yesterday but whenever this will be remedied or not is unknown.