If you like the idea of making friends with artificial intelligence, then you probably have already acquainted yourself with some of the human-like avatars that are now having conversations with real people in the metaverse.
The most popular of these digital avatars are populated through the Character.AI service, which is a neural language model that provides its user base with quick response chatbots via a multitude of characters. Some of these AI characters even include simulations of famous personalities, such as Taylor Swift, Albert Einstein, Elon Musk, and even fictional characters like Batman.
And just recently, Character.AI released a subscription tier, known as Character.AI Plus, which is also referred to as character.ai+ or c.ai+. What are the features of the plus tier, and is it worth the cost? In this blog, Character.AI Plus Features Explained, we’re going explain everything you need to know to to decide if you want to splurge for the plus option.
Character.AI: The Basics
Character.AI is a free artificial intelligence chatbot web application that allows users to create their own characters and chat with fictional, historical, and celebrity figures in a dialogue. It uses a large language model (LLM) that was trained by reading huge amounts of text, and it responds to prompts using this data.
Users are able to chat with one character at a time, or they can organize a group chat with multiple characters that talk to each other and the user at the same time. Users can also play text-adventure style games, RPGs, etc.
When using Character.AI, users should keep in mind that it is still a work in progress, so should be used cautiously. This is because the AI characters can say things that are hurtful, untrue, or even offensive, because they’re created by real people, not by the people who the characters represent.
The standard tier for Character AI is free, but the company has recently introduced a paid tier, called Character.AI+.
Character.AI Plus Features Explained
The new subscription version of the service, Character.AI Plus, comes with a range of helpful benefits that include priority access, which means there are no more waiting rooms that you have to deal with. When you sign up for the Plus membership, you’ll also get faster character response times, early access to upcoming features, and exclusive entry into the Plus member community.
However, the standout feature of the Character.AI Plus membership is the priority access to its server, which can save a lot of headaches if you’re a regular user. Note though that not having to deal with waiting rooms doesn’t guarantee immunity to server outages, such as the 500 internal server error, which you may still experience on occasion.
In addition, the Plus tier’s quicker chat response time means that the AI characters you interact with will be able to react faster during your conversations, which will reduce the time you’ll need to spend waiting for their responses.
As for the exact speed improvement with Character.AI Plus, when compared to the free version of the service, those details are undisclosed. However, this feature has also been a pivotal factor for many users when choosing to consider the paid option.
What Else Does Character.AI Plus Offer?
The former Google developers behind Character.AI have also hinted that members of Plus will also benefit from early access to new features on the platform before they are rolled out to the wider public.
For example, back in June 2023, the company introduced a new section inside of the mobile app that caters exclusively to Plus members. Known as the Labs section, it gives subscription members early access to features like the chat color customization, which allows you to select specific colors for your own messages and your AI character’s messages.
Looking ahead, it’s conceivable that the Lab section will expand to include enhanced Character.AI rooms, advanced character editors, and the long-awaited extended character memory. In addition, members are able to gain access to an exclusive community forum that offers faster support responses, and has a distinctive c.ai+ membership badge.
If you choose to become a subscriber, Character.AI Plus will set you back by $9.99 per month, which works out to approximately $120 for the year. There is only one tier available.
The Dreaded Waiting Room
The waiting room is the one thing that users of Character.AI who don’t pay for a subscription complain about the most. However, the waiting room is only a temporary inconvenience, because users will only encounter it during periods of high traffic on the server.
This is because Character.AI itself has been growing rapidly, and so the developers are actively expanding the service’s server capacity in order to accommodate the increasing user base.
It’s a good problem to have!
The waiting room ‘feature’ exists, because it alleviates the strain put on the Character.AI servers during peak periods, and ensures a smoother, low-latency experience for all users. Without this mechanism in place, the site could potentially become unstable for everyone.
The developers have therefore acknowledged the issue, and are working diligently to minimize instances of waiting rooms. However, if you choose to pay for a Character.AI Plus subscription, this grants you a “skip the waiting room” feature.
This doesn’t mean that Character.AI has decided on waiting rooms being permanent, though. The company has been making significant investments in its server infrastructure and backend redesigns.
But until it can entirely eliminate the waiting rooms, it has offered this perk as a “quality of life” improvement for Character.AI Plus subscribers.
And contrary to some rumors, paying for Character.AI Plus access doesn’t lead to non-subscribers having to deal with more waiting rooms. Instead, it allows the company to invest in additional serving capacity, which will end up increasing the number of concurrent users the platform can support at any given time.
This means that Character.AI Plus basically benefits both subscribers and non-subscribers, because the company understands that its users dislike waiting, so it is committed to finding solutions that will eliminate them altogether.
While the current system isn’t perfect, non-subscribers will just have to be patient. In addition, it’s important to note that according to the developers, the quality of character responses is the same for everyone, whether they have a Character.AI Plus subscription or not. Therefore, the content generated by characters remains unchanged between c.ai and c.ai+, thus ensuring consistency in character interaction for all users.
Is C.AI+ Worth It? The Word On The Threads
Personally, I’m a fan of Character.AI and have used it quite a bit. But I’m not obsessed with it, and don’t really see the need to pay for the Plus option.
Many around the internet agree, but not all.
If you have a look at the Reddit threads about whether or not it’s worth paying for c.ai+, there are many threads that debate the actual need to do so. Those that are fans of the subscription model say this is due to the fact that it minimizes stays in the waiting room.
“Skipping the line and the faster message generation are what is keeping me. Genuinely, as a regular user of the site, I have noticed the difference and it’s truly jarring,” said one Redditor, while another noticed that by being a subscriber to Character.AI Plus, their bots seemed to write longer messages that noticeably had increased in quality, although this could genuinely be a coincidence.
Unlike ChatGPT Plus, the premium version of Character.AI doesn’t really offer significant additional features besides the lack of waiting room time. And the app still has bugs and issues that need to be fixed. This is why some users might feel that they shouldn’t have to pay for a service that doesn’t work properly, or that has unresolved problems.
For many (including me) the free version is good enough, especially as the app is still in beta mode. However, those users who take up a subscription can cancel it at any time if they change their mind.
When you have a quick glance on Reddit, the responses from the community regarding Character.AI Plus are largely negative. This is because many users find it difficult to justify the monthly $9.99 fee for a product that’s technically still in beta.
But given that Character.AI’s user base leans toward the younger demographic, this backlash over C.ai+’s price tag isn’t entirely unexpected. And the comments suggest that the community’s willingness to pay hovers closer to $5 per month. On a positive note, however, the Character.AI team has assured that the free option will remain accessible for all.
However, now that you have had Character.AI Plus features explained, perhaps a paid membership tier that addresses pain points like the waiting room and sluggish responses, is everything you need to know before you decide to splash out on a subscription.
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