Differing task and motivational characteristics of the competitive setting (viz., task-involving/ego-involving climates, cooperative/individual, and win/loss competitive outcome) were explored in relation to need satisfaction and subjective well-being (SWB). Participants, one-on-one or in pairs, were required to participate in a physical co-ordination task. Results revealed participants exposed to a task-involving condition and those who worked in cooperation to report higher levels of need satisfaction and SWB. Conversely, individuals exposed to ego-involving conditions and those who competed individually experienced higher levels of negative affect. Winning resulted in higher levels of need satisfaction and SWB, whereas losing led to higher levels of negative affect. Losing individually in an ego-involving condition led to the highest levels of negative affect responses and attenuated levels of reported need satisfaction and SWB. Via structural equation modeling, a model of motivational processes grounded in self-determination theory was supported in which elements of the competitive situation that facilitated need satisfaction led to increments in reported indices of SWB.