"The Sims" cannot be played online without downloading; all Sims games are executable programs that run directly on a computer or mobile device and thus require a download or a disc. The only version of the game that has never required a download, "The Sims Social," is no longer available to play. Sites claiming to host "The Sims" online without a download are not offering the official game.
The only Sims games available for free are the free-to-play versions of Sims for smartphones. These games still require a download from iTunes, Google Play or the Amazon AppStore and offer in-app purchases as an option. All other versions of "The Sims" currently available require a purchase. Obtaining these games for free online is illegal and still requires a download.
The only alternative to downloading the game is to purchase a physical copy of the game and install it onto the computer from the disc. "The Sims" is available for purchase at games and electronics stores and from online shopping sites such as Amazon. As of 2014, versions prior to "The Sims 3" are no longer offered for sale. "The Sims 3" and "The Sims 4" are the only versions available for purchase on EA's official site.