Custom Consoles That Never Saw The Light Of Day

Game consoles aren't just there for entertainment. Often, they're in the busiest area of the home — the living space. When it comes to game consoles, appearance matters; not just for aesthetics but also the "cool" factor. It's likely for that reason that gamers responded with almost visceral disapproval at the newest generation of gaming consoles. The Xbox Series X was blocky and large. The PlayStation 5 was irregular and odd.


When the PlayStation 5's all-white color scheme was initially revealed, Tech Radar reported that reactions were mixed. Players found themselves looking forward to third-party customizations, skins, and future special editions, but unfortunately at least some of the enthusiasm was short-lived.

While users love customizing their consoles at home, proprietors of third-party customizations inhabit a sketchy area legally. Microsoft runs its own Xbox Design Lab for controllers, but PlayStation users often need to go through third-party sites. And while the Xbox Series X has proven to be relatively straightforward to customize and skin, PlayStation and Nintendo consoles have proven to be a little more challenging.


Custom black PS5 consoles canceled after the retailer receives 'credible threats'

According to PC Mag, retailer SUP3R5 canceled its planned custom black PS5 consoles after receiving "credible threats." These items were slated to go on sale as of Jan. 5, 2021 — and while the exterior of the consoles were going to be modded, the interiors were left alone (to avoid breaching their warranty).


Not only did SUP3R5 cancel their consoles, but it deleted its Twitter account. As SUP3R5 didn't initially elaborate on the nature of the threats, users on Reddit speculated that either the shop was conducting a scam (an unproven claim) or that it had received a cease-and-desist from Sony.

Either way, the launch was messy and replete with payment problems. At some points, users were unable to delete their payment information from the site. SUP3R5 later announced that it had processed 98 percent of all refunds and was still waiting to process the others. The retailer also argued against the "scam narrative" that it claimed had developed.

PS5 custom faceplates canceled after PlayStation takes legal action

PlateStation5 was forced to cancel its orders and rebrand to CustomizeMyPlates after legal action from Sony, according to TechRadar. The company no longer sells faceplates but it does sell custom skins, including black skins.


While skins are usually considered legal (they're just vinyl stickers that adhere to the sides of the consoles), faceplates use what Sony considers its own intellectual property — essentially, the design of the plate itself. This is perhaps frustrating for those who want a different color or style, but those who want to customize their faceplates at home are still free to do so.

In fact, many PlayStation 5 users have resorted to using Plasti-Dip, following a video by Sony that showed that the faceplate could be easily removed. And CustomizeMyPlates — rebranded as CMP Shells — was eventually able to start selling again following the copyright dispute. However, the company did remove its Kratos bundle, potentially because of trademark issues.


Nintendo blocks the sale of custom Joy-Con cases for charity

Following the death of online personality and Twitch streamer Etika, artist CptnAlex created a custom Joy-Con shell that ultimately raised $10,000 for charity, according to Nintendo Life. However, Nintendo shut down production of the Joy-Cons for legal reasons, and those who didn't get in on the original campaign will never see the product. While CptnAlex had created shells for the Nintendo Switch before, he hadn't used the specific term Joy-Con, which was legally protected.


Before being shut down, 300 of the controllers had been sold on Indiegogo and another 200 had been put up for sale on Etsy. Those that were sold on Etsy had to be taken down. Nintendo was later criticized by fans for taking the action. According to NME, the controllers had been sold for the JED Foundation, a charity that helps protect the mental health of teens and young adults.

A somewhat cautionary tale for online sellers; most of the disputes with cases and customizations have to do with accidentally intruding upon intellectual property and trademarks, rather than the cases and customizations themselves.

DBrand cancels and refunds all PlayStation 5 skins, citing design difficulties

Not all custom consoles have been canceled due to outside intervention. Popular customization company DBrand canceled and refunded all its PlayStation 5 orders citing that the console was just too difficult to customize. The PlayStation 5 skins purchased beforehand were all canceled and refunded by the company preemptively before any complaints could be lodged.


While it was possible for the manufacturer to actually create the skins, it was concerned that installing the skins would be too complicated due to the way that the console is designed. The PlayStation 5 has a unique, curved design that differs from most other consoles. It's also quite large, as mentioned by The Washington Post.

But those who were hoping for a different color scheme than black-and-white shouldn't completely despair. They can still grab a solid gold console for about $1 million, give or take.