There have been tons of successful peripherals over the years. The Wavebird still is one of the most sought after peripherals for the Gamecube. The Zapper for the original Nintendo will always be the iconic light gun. On the flip side their have been many that have failed to impress or flat out had no purpose. If we think of good Nintendo Entertainment System controllers, we think of the standard version and the Advantage. We only think of The Power Glove because of it's involvement with the Fred Savage film, The Wizard. The following are five peripherals that had circumstances that led to them not catching on but had potential.
Wii Motion Plus
When Nintendo released the Wii Motion Plus with Wii Sports Resort it seemed like the second generation of motion tech for the Wii. In actuality the Motion Plus has rarely been used. Every few months a game will feature some support for it. Unfortunately many titles that could have benefited from Motion Plus don't have it. Why is it not used more? A combination of casual gamers and a splintered audience created by owning Motion Plus. The Wii has tried to please too many categories of people at once. The casual gamer doesn't care about more accurate waggling; they only care that it waggles.
Game Boy Printer
So the Game Boy Camera was very impressive for the time. The Gameboy Printer however was not. It would print out small, unrecognizable images that may have been something. It took six AA batteries to get the printer to work and thermal paper to provide ink-less stickers. Game support was good featuring Pokemon, Mario Brothers DX, and Zelda: DX. It also supported some of the Game Boy's worst like Austin Powers: Welcome to My Underground Lair! The reason it failed had more to do with the printer being terrible. Children love stickers and the idea is still worth trying with better technology.
Game Boy Advance Wireless Adapter
For some reason the Gameboy Advance didn't ship with this. Instead they used a standard link cable for Game Boy systems at the time. It was a good solution that worked fine until Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green released with the Wireless Adapter. A short production run coupled with a very late release in the Game Boy Advance's life made this only a hassle to the user base. The Game Boy Advance had a six year life span with a trickle of releases in it's final year. So only two major years of the lifespan had the Wireless Adapter available. The Nintendo DS would also go wireless and use this tech built into it's hardware.
The VMU (Sega Dreamcast)
The Dreamcast's memory card is the most interactive memory card so far in gaming history. It held your save files and would allow you to play very pixelated mini-games comparable to Tamagotchi or the Sony's forgotten Pocket Station. It also sometimes functioned like the Nintendo DS' bottom screen as a status indicator or small secondary screen. 2K sports titles let you pick plays from the VMU so friends wouldn't see what you picked. Skies of Arcadia included a mini-rpg and Resident Evil used it for health status. The issue with the VMU is wanting you to command attention away from your television for something you could find in a Tiger electronic game.
Live Vision Camera (Xbox 360)
The Kinect's release has finally put this peripheral to bed. The Vision Camera seemed like a cheap solution to cash in on the Wii's motion control success. One game that used it was Totem Ball; A terrible game with the idea of controlling movement by posing in front of the Vision Camera. most support for the peripheral was very unreliable. It flat out didn't work in Rainbow Six Vegas, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise or in You're in the Movies. Then it would work decently with Burnout Paradise and Uno. The Vision Camera couldn't perform what was necessary because it was a stationary camera with a rather flimsy base. It required to much fiddling with to get any results at all in comparison to it's younger brother Kinect.
E-Reader (Gameboy Advance)
Sega CD (Genesis)
Singer IZEK sewing machine (Gameboy Color)