Each installment of the game is accompanied by a DVD containing an episode of the .hack//Liminality OVA series. The four episodes happen in the real world, as opposed to the fictional MMORPG, The World, in which the game takes place entirely in. The events of Liminality take place alongside those of the games.
At startup, players find themselves facing a mock desktop, complete with icons reading "The World", "Mailer", "News", "Accessory", "Audio", and "Data". The last allows the player to save their game data, while Accessory and Audio allow players to customize their desktop – changing the wallpaper, what background music is playing, or watch cinematics from the game. While these choices are all limited early on in the game, performing various tasks will allow players to unlock more of these special features. News opens up a browser, displaying various news information going on in the outside world that the game is set in. Mailer takes players to their e-mail inbox, where various characters they encounter through the course of the game will write to them – sometimes with simply humorous greetings and other times with tips and hints that steer the story towards its next plot point. It is the last icon, located at the top of the desktop, that sends the player off and running into the game.