ChatGPT Plus costs the same as Adobe Photoshop – and that’s still too much

A laptop screen showing the landing page for ChatGPT Plus
(Image credit: OpenAI)

ChatGPT is trialing a paid-for version of its AI chatbot that costs the same as a monthly subscription to Adobe Photoshop – and for most casual users, that could be too expensive.

ChatGPT Plus, which is being piloted in the US, costs $20 per month (around £16 / AU$28) and brings a few benefits. These include access to ChatGPT during peak times, which is currently an issue on the free version. You'll also apparently get "faster response times" and "priority access to new features".

The good news for anyone who's been dabbling with the AI chatbot for coding, factual info or songwriting help is that ChatGPT's free tier will continue. In fact, the chatbot's maker, OpenAI, says ChatGPT Plus is essential so it can "help support free access availability to as many people as possible".

But for all but the most hardcore users, ChatGPT Plus will likely be hard to justify. By comparison, Adobe's Photography Plan, which includes both Photoshop and Lightroom, has the same monthly fee. And as impressive as ChatGPT currently is, it remains an embryonic research project, rather than a polished program with decades of refinement like Photoshop.

Still, there's no doubting that specific users (in particular, coders and researchers) are getting huge time-saving value from ChatGPT that could justify the cost. OpenAI says it'll start the process of inviting people from its ChatGPT Plus waitlist "over the coming weeks".

Analysis: Good news for free users

ChatGPT's given examples, capabilities and limitations on a mobile phone screen laid against a laptop keyboard

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Tada Images)

ChatGPT Plus is just a trial right now – and OpenAI likely likely doesn't need a huge number of sign-ups for it to be considered a success. The $20 a month fee is also considerably less than the $42 per month Professional tier that was rumored just a couple of weeks ago.

But the main winners of the Plus version could be free users, for now. OpenAI was keen to stress that subscription pricing is necessary to keep a free version of its AI chatbot available to a wide audience. It also says that it's "exploring options for lower-cost plans" and will be launching a ChatGPT API waitlist soon for those who are looking to build products with the AI tool.

We've asked OpenAI how it expects ChatGPT Plus to impact the free version in terms of access and response times, and will update this article when we hear back. But another big challenge for ChatGPT right now is how it can evolve in an ethical way without losing the playfulness that saw it become a viral hit. 

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has admitted on Twitter that ChatGPT has "shortcomings around bias" and that it's "working to improve on it". But some users have also grown frustrated with the chatbot's increasing reluctance to engage on creative topics that involve humor or artistic endeavors.

And then there's the looming threat of competition from rivals like Google. According to the The New York Times,  Google has as many as 20 A.I projects in the works, while Microsoft is seemingly busy integrating some of ChatGPT's skills into programs like Word and Outlook

The AI chatbot battle is heating up and ChatGPT has put its flag in the ground with its new $20 a month tier – whether that ultimately proves good value for an AI assistant or too high a premium is something we'll find out in the coming months.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.