ChatGPT Plus: OpenAI stops premium signups after major update

OpenAI-Showcase (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
OpenAI-Showcase (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

OpenAI has temporarily stopped people from signing up to the premium version of ChatGPT, after it proved so popular the company was unable to operate it.

Just over a week ago, OpenAI held a developer conference in which it announced a range of new features, including a faster version of its chatbot and access to the new GPTs feature that lets people make their own versions of ChatGPT. Many of those new tools are limited to subscribers to ChatGPT Plus, the paid-for version that also offers fewer restrictions on how much ChatGPT can be used.

Now, however, OpenAI is “pausing” new sign-ups “for a bit”, its chief executive Sam Altman announced. The interest in those tools had proven too much for the company to deal with.

“we are pausing new ChatGPT Plus sign-ups for a bit :(,” he wrote on Twitter. “the surge in usage post devday has exceeded our capacity and we want to make sure everyone has a great experience. you can still sign-up to be notified within the app when subs reopen.”

Mr Altman’s announcement came after a run of technical issues in the wake of the new announcements. Since the event was held on 6 November, there have been six days of outages, according to OpenAI’s official status tracker, including one major outage that took ChatGPT offline for almost two hours.

In the weeks before that, OpenAI had seen no downtime at all, according to the same page.

ChatGPT Plus was launched in February, for $20 per month. Since then, OpenAI has added a range of new features to the offering, including those announced at its recent developer conference.

The company says that the premium offering supports it work in making ChatGPT available for free. Artificial intelligence work is notoriously expensive because of the complex calculations required to answer a question, and so the free version of ChatGPT operates at a considerable loss.

“We love our free users and will continue to offer free access to ChatGPT,” OpenAI’s website says. “By offering this subscription pricing, we will be able to help support free access availability to as many people as possible.”