Let's bounce this around and arrive at a really good definition shall we? One that can be quoted elsewhere e.g. on the Wikipedia page for LitRPG. At the moment they have this: LitRPG, short for Literature Role Playing Game, is a literary genre based on combining all the key components of MMORPGs with science-fiction fantasy novels. I would say: ... is a literary genre where MMORPGs form an essential part of the landscape. LitRPG novels can be considered a branch of Science-Fiction or Fantasy (or even other genres, like Westerns), depending on the type of MMORPG featured in the book, but they operate a narrative from a standpoint that exists outside the straight Science-Fiction or Fantasy story. The characters in a LitRPG novel are humans playing a game. So, while Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is a fantasy novel, a book about people creating avatars and interacting in a Lord of the Rings MMORPG would be a LitRPG novel. Typically, in a LitRPG novel the events in the MMORPG have significant consequences for the real world and often the resolution of the conflicts within the MMORPG are matters of life and death for the player.