In the game development process, implementing game design features based on the satisfaction of basic psychological needs can be the key for enjoyment and success of games.


Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is a theory of motivation. SDT asserts that individuals inherently choose to participate in particular actions that satisfy three basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. These needs also enrich psychological well-being and intrinsic motivation. By applying SDT to video games, it is concluded that satisfaction of these three needs are the predictors of motivation to play video games.

Among many studies conducted with the SDT approach, there are only a few that focus on the effects of each game element on basic need satisfaction. Some studies have suggested that there is a the need for investigating specific game elements’ contribution to the need satisfaction. Time pressure, which is one of the commonly used game design elements, is the area of focus in this research. In this experimental study, the relationships between time pressure in games and autonomy and competence were observed with two conditions (with and without time limit). Mediating effects of autonomy and competence between time pressure and intrinsic motivation, flow, engagement, performance, and enjoyment were also investigated.