Not Very Effective: Validity Issues of the Effectance in Games Scale

Nicholas Ballou, Heiko Breitsohl, Dominic Kao, Kathrin Gerling, Christoph Sebastian Deterding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Effectance—the basic positive experience of causing effects—provides a promising explanation for the enjoyment derived from novel low-challenge game genres featuring ample ‘juicy’ feedback. To date, game researchers have studied effectance using a little-validated 11-item scale developed by Klimmt, Hartmann, and Frey. To test its dimensionality and discriminant validity, we conducted an online survey (n = 467) asking people to report on effectance and related experiences in a recent play session. Confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses show poor fit with a unidimensional factor structure and poor discriminant validity with common enjoyment and mastery/competence measures, likely due to reverse-coded items and a separable input lag factor. We discuss further possible validity issues like questionable content validity, advise against using the scale in its present form, and close with recommendations for future scale development and use.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationxtended Abstracts of the 2021 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’21),
Number of pages6
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Aug 2021


  • effectance
  • games
  • player experience
  • measurement validity

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