Earlier this month, OpenAI announced that it was exploring ways to monetize its AI chatbot ChatGPT and allow users to sign up for early access to “ChatGPT Professional.” Now, some users say they were granted access to a Pro tier, which costs $42 per month.
OpenAI has not confirmed that this is an official test or made any announcements. We’ve contacted the company for more information, but in the meantime keep in mind that features and pricing may change before ChatGPT Professional really launches. As OpenAI said earlier this month, “Please remember that this is an early experimental program that is subject to change, and we are not making paid Pro access generally available at this time.”
With that in mind, what does $42 a month get you? According to screenshots shared by early access users, you get faster response speed, more reliable access (because ChatGPT is down heavily), and “priority access to new features” (whatever they turn out to be).
Zahid Khawaja, a developer working on a number of AI projects, shared a video of the Pro tier, which works on both desktop and mobile (as well as a screenshot his payment to OpenAI as proof). As Khawaja notes, the system is definitely more responsive than the free version.
The trickier question, however, is the cost. On the official ChatGPT Discord, many users expressed their anger and disappointment at the $42 price tag.
“If I made money from this I could justify the 42/month but in my country that’s a good percentage of minimum wage,” said one user.
“I was dying to pay for a plan but $42 is just too much,” said another.
“$42 isn’t too much for peeps who consume a lot and want to become ‘superhuman’ with the help of AI. However, it will be too much for too many,” said another.
As the last commenter notes, it’s clear that users’ judgment of any price depends on their need for the service. There are many anecdotal reports of people using ChatGPT to speed up their work, and for those people $42 per month is probably a reasonable spend like any other software subscription. However, casual users have to hope that the free tier sticks around and maintains feature parity (more or less) with the professional version. Ultimately, even a small fee will be an effective filter to see how useful ChatGPT really is, and given the lack of comparable services, $42 is likely a speculative first try at OpenAI’s pricing — and a nerdy insider -Joke.
It is also worth remembering that the AI chatbot market is set to explode this year. Not only are there competing systems in development (like Claude, which was built by former OpenAI employees but is currently only available in closed beta), but Microsoft, OpenAI’s chosen big tech big brother, is planning to simultaneously integrate ChatGPT with both Bing and its Office suite Google is reportedly planning to demo its own chat-enhanced search product later this year. ChatGPT has attracted interest from early adopters, but it’s about to get a lot of competition.