Dogu Taskiran is the CEO of two companies, Stambol Studios and Orderinbox. Stambol Studios is a Virtual and Augmented Reality studio focused on hyperrealistic immersive experiences. Orderinbox is a social commerce platform and NFT marketplace for the Metaverse that puts creators first.
Originally hired at Microsoft, Ubisoft, and EA, Dogu has an extensive background in game development and has transitioned into the Metaverse space over the last few years.
I sat down with Dogu to talk about his newly announced social commerce platform Orderinbox and his other projects. We dive into the nitty-gritty details of the Metaverse and the mainstream gaming space.
Hi Dogu, can you tell our audience about yourself and your background?
“My name is Dogu Taskiran. I’m the CEO of Stambol Studios and the CTO of Orderinbox, a new upcoming entity marketplace. I was born in Turkey in 1980, around the time people played in arcades. Half of the arcades in my hometown belonged to my family, and the other half were buying arcade machines from us. So I was pretty much born in an arcade. I learned programming at 11 and wrote my first game at 12 on an Atari 800 XL. And then my journey into game development started. “
“I first started work for a company building military simulators, but also working on a couple of their gaming projects. This involved working on flight simulators and driving simulators. So I got involved in all this. One day I got a call from Electronic Arts in Canada in Vancouver. They saw one of these simulators that I was working on. They said we want you to come over and work on a project that at that time was in stealth mode. Little did I know it was a skateboarding game.”
“They were trying to bury Tony Hawk Pro Skater. I was working on Skate. I was the lead gameplay programmer for the ambient AI we created for the game. I then jumped ship to join Ubisoft as a senior gameplay programmer at their Vancouver Studio. I learned as much as I could about shipping games faster in a more optimized way so that the players could play more comfortably.”
“I then moved to Toronto to be part of the Ubisoft Toronto engine team, working on Splinter Cell Blacklist by Tom Clancy. And I was part of the engine team over there, building some cool stuff for Unreal Engine 2.5. Unfortunately, though, I was getting a little tired of making games in general, like the same cycle all the time, pre-production, production, and then you ship it to take a few weeks off. And then you start from the beginning, like any other project. But I needed something more exciting because it became more saturated and a little thankless. “
“I was looking to come back to the west coast of North America. Microsoft contacted me about the right time with a completely brand new project that was an operating system and new ecosystem that they were building to eventually replace parts of, you know, the core components of their operating systems. And they said we want you to come and join the team that will build the core graphics component of this new operating system.”
“After a while, I decided I wanted to try my own thing. I set up Stambol Studios with my brother, who had a background in 3D visualisations. We wanted to combine the creative with the interactive. We started using VR and AR to realise architectural solutions. What we bootstrapped as a 2-men founders team scaled up to 24 people at the end of 2019. We worked with real estate developers and architects all around the world. We created Luna VR. It allowed the nurses and kids to have a more manageable and positive vaccine experience. Then covid hit, stalling revenue channels. “
“We had to rethink. We wanted to create a platform that would reward creators properly, and the pandemic gave us breathing room to do that. I thought about leveraging Blockchain to make it more decentralised for creatives to benefit. Then NFTs emerged, and despite having to repivot our original ideas, there was no way we could not incorporate them.”
“So we came up with the idea of a decentralised NFT Marketplace and infrastructure called Orderinbox, which we’re launching this week. We are super excited about that. It’s a soft launch, our open Beta will be out, and we can’t wait to get the creators on board. We call it the social commerce platform for the Metaverse. “
“It consists of a bunch of digital assets. We support video, pictures, and audio, which will include VR and AR experiences that will be facilitated through Stambol Studios. It comprises different infrastructures, which means you can go ahead and make your marketplace through the technology stack that we develop. You will be able to create your collections, anything that you would expect from a modern NFT marketplace and a lot more. Our focus was on removing barriers for creators to get involved.”
It seems you are creating your own Metaverse with Orderinbox. Is that correct?
“These different companies are coming together, so you can think of it that way. But these are additional layers inside the overall Metaverse. So it’s inside the overarching Metaverse. You don’t have multiple internets. You don’t call things internets just because it’s Instagram and Facebook. They’re all different applications built on top of the common infrastructure and understanding a set of protocols. Metaverse is just a set of protocols that enables spatial things to interact.”
What do you think about transitioning from traditional gaming models to play to earn? Why hasn’t the gaming industry got there already?
“I think our evolution as a society wasn’t there, even if the technology was there. If you consider technical challenges between features like cross-play, like you can’t easily make a game that’s cross playable between PlayStation and Xbox, then play to earn is an even greater challenge. Industry leaders also like to keep things close to their chest. Look at Apple. So secretive, right? The main thing is that the gaming industry is reluctant to adopt blockchain technology, especially the big three of the video game industry. “
How long do you think it will be before Blockchain gaming becomes mainstream? Why do you think that the industry has been reluctant to adopt them?
“I think there are a few different reasons. The gaming community uses the argument that Blockchain is a Ponzi scheme, and it’s ruining the environment. So the idea at its core is getting backlash because consumers don’t believe we have full ownership over NTFs and the Metaverse. People need to be educated again to be told that you can own this. “
“In the next couple of years, I think Microsoft will be one of the first to adopt this. And when they do, I think there will be interesting developments that start happening. Likewise, more people will adopt it once the user experience is streamlined. Currently, the user experience sucks. It’s on us to make sure that these are well translated. And I think the winner of UX integration/ development will be the champion of the space. It’s like a winner-take-all kind of situation when it comes to UX. So when we solve that, we make it as easy as possible to adopt these stacks with minimal jargon.”
“However, we will have to give them time to improve UX, to make it easy for consumers to adopt Blockchain. And that’s what we chose. I wish I could show you the Orderinbox right now, gamified, it’s super simple. It is like it doesn’t even almost mention the word NFT until you need it. “
PlayStation had just unveiled specs for its PSVR 2. Do you think they are taking it seriously?
“I think PlayStation is seeing it as an add-on. There’s an argument to be made right now you don’t need immersive VR experiences all the time. So Sony might have seen the PSVR 2 as progress and a step in the right direction. Perhaps they will make a standalone PSVR in the future with this mentality.”
“The current PSVR is clunky, but it will need to get used to a different UX and everything on that device if it goes portable. So I think that’s another strategy they’re going to employ. Still, with these experiences becoming more and more immersive with more developers looking to incorporate immersive storylines into their games, I don’t believe they are doing something wrong. They are only enabling these storytelling experiences.”
“I think it will also be costly to provide wireless HDMI. I know the HTC Vive has an attachment. Perhaps there are patents involved. Perhaps there is, licensing issues involved; wireless HDMI technology can carry some bandwidth. Maybe there’s lag. Those are the issues that they must have measured. So if I were PlayStation or Sony, I would strive for a standalone experience. But it’s their audience. They measured it; I’m not measuring it. So it’s hard for me to say.”
To wrap up, Dogu, how can people find you, and what should people look out for in the future?
“They can go to stambol.com or orderinbox.com and drop us a note. We will get back to them. If you are looking for collaborative opportunities, you can learn more about NFTs and the Blockchain and how they can improve everyone’s lives through our websites.”
“One thing to get excited about is that we’re very much focused on the launch of Orderinbox. It will be a multi-chain social commerce platform and an active marketplace for people to get easily into the NFT space and socialise. It is a social network, marketplace and trading platform combined in one cohesive framework that allows any creator to get stuck in, learn more, engage, and be part of this beautiful movement that enables an inclusive economy. Join Orderinbox Discord community.”
“Every creator is out there to make a living. And we treat the creators like the kings and queens we know they are. They deserve to be amazing. Thank you.”