OpenAI, the company behind the popular AI chatbot ChatGPT, announced this week that it is temporarily pausing new sign-ups for its premium ChatGPT Plus subscription service.
In a tweet, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said the recent surge in usage after the company’s developer day event last week has exceeded the startup’s capacity. “We want to make sure everyone has a great experience,” Altman wrote about the decision to halt new subscriptions.
The pause comes just months after ChatGPT burst onto the scene and quickly amassed millions of users impressed by its human-like conversational abilities. According to web analytics firm SimilarWeb, ChatGPT now has over 180 million monthly users.
ChatGPT has emerged as the most popular AI tool
But the bot’s sudden viral popularity has strained OpenAI’s systems. Pausing new sign-ups will allow the company time to expand its infrastructure and improve reliability for existing users.
ChatGPT Plus subscribers gain exclusive access to the chatbot and new features. Regular users currently face frequent waitlists and errors. The pause on new subscriptions may frustrate developers eager to build new apps with ChatGPT’s underlying generative AI models.
With ChatGPT Plus access on hold, OpenAI developers must wait to experiment with new capabilities. This may temporarily slow the rollout of new GPT-powered apps and features.
ChatGPT faces stiff competition from tech giants Google and Microsoft, which recently unveiled their own AI chatbots. Google’s Bard delivers factual answers, while Microsoft-backed Anthropic built the rival conversational bot, Claude.
Elon Musk also revealed his own AI chat program called Grok last week. With so many companies investing in the technology, robust access to ChatGPT is key for OpenAI to maintain its first-mover advantage.