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Control Freaks — An Interview With The Controller Shop

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The Controller Shop has been customizing game controllers and turning them into one-of-a-kind works of art since 2008. They have spent millions of dollars on the latest and greatest in tech to build, replace, upgrade, and customize players’ controllers in almost every way imaginable. Everything from slick, shiny graphics, to upgraded and remappable pedals and buttons — they do it all.

So, we took a minute to sit down and chat with the geniuses behind these amazing custom creations.

dandr0id: How did the team decide to start a company for such a niche market?

Jordan started the company in 2008. He was a big gamer himself and noticed that it wasn’t something that was being done. He saw an opportunity to start this really awesome industry, and ran with it.

I joined the company about a year and a half ago, and I’ve really gotten so attached to everything that we do here. It’s such an awesome concept that combines art and technology. I think every member of our team is really passionate about what they do, and works really hard to create a beautiful product.

dandr0id: How do you decide on what products you are going to develop for sale?

Since I’ve been here, we kind of get an idea that really inspires us and then we go with it. It’s about taking risks and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

I think the most important thing is to take into consideration what the customers are asking or looking for in a custom controller.

dandr0id: Has the new trend of out-of-the-box customizable controllers — like the Xbox One Elite, for example — had any impact on your company?

If anything, there has been a positive impact. We have done some special orders for custom Elite controllers, and we hope to have an Elite design lab on the site very soon.

The additional back buttons and foot pedals that we offer have a much different feel than paddles, so I think there will always be customers who prefer them as well.

dandr0id: Why do you think people love to customize their controllers so much?

I think people love to express themselves and design something that is truly unique. Whether you’re a casual or hardcore gamer, everyone can get on board with creating something that is an extension of who they are as a person. Not to mention, the design lab is so fun! I was amazed when I started working here. I spent so much time in the lab making different designs for my friends and family. And myself, of course.

dandr0id: Would you consider customizing a peripheral that isn’t on your website, such as a Wii-mote or a flight stick?

We have done quite a few special orders for different products outside of what we offer in the lab. We’ve done a GameCube controller and a mouse. We did custom Wii U’s for Rocket Jump. Most recently we did a Steam Controller with a Cortana theme. Those orders are always my favorite. It’s awesome to see the transformation.

We definitely want to get more products on the website for customization in the future. The possibilities are really endless.

dandr0id: Are you looking into developing custom controllers for disabled gamers?

I think it’s something we would definitely like to put more time into developing. We do occasionally get requests for special button placements, or modifications for gamers with different disabilities. We always try and do everything we can to accommodate every customer.

dandr0id: What is the most expensive or most interesting controller you have built?

Oh gosh, where do I start? The most expensive one I have come across was for a person who added every possible upgrade. Multiple effects, text, graphics, all four back buttons, two foot pedals, etc. They went crazy in the lab.

We get a lot of interesting controllers that come through. We had a couple that purchased a controller to use as their wedding cake topper. We recently had someone order one for a marriage proposal. We get a lot of “Prom-posal” controllers, which is funny. It’s cool to see where people will go with it.

dandr0id: What kind of warranty do you offer on your controllers? What if the customer doesn’t like the feel of the controller — will you work with them to make it right?

Every order comes standard with a 30-day warranty that covers any technical issues within 30 days of delivery. All of our custom work (paint, bullet LED buttons, etc.) is guaranteed for a year. Extended one-year warranties are available as well that will cover everything, including technical issues, for the first year.

We will always work with the customer to fix anything that they aren’t 100% satisfied with.

dandr0id: Can you talk a bit about your QA process? How do you make sure your custom skins, thumb-sticks and buttons don’t break down?

All of our controllers are hand-painted using top-quality product. We store each controller in a protective bin from the moment it is disassembled for production. The circuit boards are also stored in static-shield bags until they are ready to be used. We use super-durable top coats and finishes on every order — they protect the paint from peeling and/or chipping. Every controller is also thoroughly tested to ensure perfect operation before shipment.

dandr0id: Would you ever consider expanding into customizing game consoles or PCs for performance and aesthetics?

Absolutely, we hope to add everything you can think of in the future. If it’s gaming related, we want to customize it!

dandr0id: Have you ever considered sponsoring Major League Gaming athletes, or specific eSports athletes, with a signature controller? 

We have worked with MLG in the past. The first custom controller we ever created was actually used by Tom “TSquared” Taylor to win the 2008 Major League Gaming National Championship in Las Vegas.

We would be open to the idea of signature controllers for our sponsored athletes. It’s something we would definitely want to put a lot of thought and consideration into, rather than just choosing a particular color or a generic design and calling it “signature”. Developing designs that are truly unique to the athlete would be important to us if we were to go that route.


And there you go. These controllers are true masterpieces and if you or anyone you know are looking to get something truly unique for their gaming experience, you can find more info and pricing on their website at www.thecontrollershop.com.

Dandr0id is a Contributor for AYBOnline.com, a producer for the Level 1 Scrubs podcast, and an avid fan of pizza. He may also be a robot and is probably a ninja. His opinions are his own.

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