Over my 20+ years of being a gamer I've never really been one for third party peripherals and controllers. For whatever reason I always thought that I'd much rather have a first party controller. Then again, maybe that's because I didn't know about companies like Performance Designed Products (PDP) when I was a kid, because if I had I think my attitude would be totally different. Luckily I got a chance to check out their wares at their booth at E3 this year.
Some of the things PDP makes are nice but somewhat obvious, like licensed covers for iPhones and iPads from Nintendo and Blizzard. Now you can show off you love of Zelda and Diablo 3 while perusing through the appropriate fan-sites on the interwebs. It's a match made in heaven.
The IP pool extends far beyond that though, with My First Mote's: wiimotes for the kids (or kids at heart) with Disney Princesses or Marvel Super Hero Squad adorning them. For the Bronies out there there's a MLP line of merchandise and I'm not sure what fans of Finneas and Ferb are called but they've got you covered too. Anime fans might like the Marvel Kawaii line with cute chibi versions of Marvel characters adorning them.
The Epic Mickey 2 licensed controllers and console covers were nice but I was much more impressed with the Epic Mickey 2 Wiimote that is shaped like a paint brush and changes color based on the power you're using in the game, or the Oswald based one that's shaped like an old fashioned Clicker.
This leads me to the non-licensed products. First up is the Afterglow series, which are high end controllers and headphones for those who like things that light up and sound great. Now the headphones certainly were quality listening, but for me I just don't get the idea behind the glow. I recently bought a new computer and the fans light up too, but it just doesn't do anything for me. To each his own.
The ideas I loved were actually probably meant more for kids, but they were both brilliant far as I'm concerned. First is the Nerf licensed controller armor, which is designed to make it near impossible to break your controller during normal activities (so don't go proving me wrong by tossing it off your roof) and have a better grip.
My favorite idea of all, though, are the Rock Candy controllers. Controllers made without the rumble and with as little amenities as they can reasonably have to make them dirt cheap. Like, $14-25 cheap. Considering how expensive controllers are these days, having a cheaper alternative that you can buy your little brother (my 25 year old C&C technician brother just can't be trusted with real controllers) or kids is a great idea. You can let them play along with you without worrying about handing them fifty bucks they can easily break.
So take a look at what PDP is offering because they actually have a wide enough variety to please almost anyone. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Performance Designed Products