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Basic Needs in Games (BANG)

The Basic Needs in Games (BANGS) is an open-access, free to use scale that assesses the degree of need satisfaction and frustration experienced during video game play. This questionnaire can be used to help understand outcomes such as video game enjoyment, engagement, in-game behavior, and player wellbeing. 

Players’ basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are among the most commonly used constructs used in research on what makes video games so engaging, and how they might support or undermine user wellbeing. However, existing measures of basic psychological needs in games have some important limitations:

(1) They either do not measure need frustration (which has emerged as a common and impactful experience in games distinct from the absence of need satisfaction), or measure it in a way that may not be appropriate for the video games domain
(2) They struggle to capture feelings of relatedness in both single- and multiplayer contexts
(3) They often lack validity evidence for certain contexts (e.g., playtesting vs experience with games as a whole).

BANGS addresses these limitations and offers a new option for measuring both need satisfaction and frustration in games. BANGS includes 6 subscales covering satisfaction and frustration of all three basic needs (autonomy, competence, and relatedness). Relatedness items are able to capture social experiences with both other players and non-player characters. Three variants of BANGS have been validated for use, with slightly different wordings to cover particular game sessions, experiences with one game over time, or experiences with gaming in general.

Scoring Instructions: (also within downloadable PDF)

We recommend simply calculating the mean of all items in each subscale (e.g., the mean of items 1, 2, and 3 for autonomy satisfaction; items 4, 5, and 6 for autonomy frustration, and so on). In general, we recommend leaving these means as unstandardized scores, which are more easily interpretable—for example, you could estimate the effect of a 1 scale point increase in autonomy satisfaction (on a 1-7 scale) on time spent playing a game. 

If you prefer to use standardized units and have experience with factor analysis, we recommend using a measurement model to calculate latent factor scores based on players’ responses to each item—this allows you to account for the fact that each item gives a different amount of information about the underlying experience. Research shows that this can have an appreciable impact on results compared to standardized mean scores. Example code for calculating latent factor scores is available here. If you are not comfortable with factor analysis but still prefer standardized scores, you can standardize manually by scaling and centering the mean subscale scores (using e.g., the scale() function in R). 

Depending on your goal, it may be appropriate to calculate the mean of all the need satisfaction items (i.e., the 9 items covering satisfaction of autonomy, competence, and relatedness) and/or the mean of all need frustration items (i.e., the 9 items covering frustration of autonomy, competence, and relatedness) as holistic indications of overall need satisfaction and frustration. Note, however, that this will result in the loss of information about which needs are more satisfied or frustrated.

We do not recommend calculating a score of all 18 items together (e.g., subtracting the mean of all need frustration items from the mean of all need satisfaction items)—need satisfaction and frustration are separate constructs with different consequences, and should therefore be used and interpreted separately.


Main Questionnaire



The Basic Needs in Games Scale (BANGS): A new tool for investigating positive and negative video game experiences

Ballou, N. Denisova, A. Ryan, R. M. Rigby, C. S. Deterding, S.

Key Articles Using Questionnaires

(2023) Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction

‘I Just Wanted to Get It Over and Done With’: A Grounded Theory of Psychological Need Frustration in Video Games

Ballou, N. Deterding, S.